Badminton; Norza made the right devious

The calmness of one night in late August 2018 was broken by my vibrating mobile phone.

As I walked towards the charging phone, having just returned to the apartment after after an Asian Games hockey match, I wa surprised that it was Dato Seri Norza Zakaria, President of BAM and OCM.

“Hope you are not asleep yet,”the voice on the other side said.

“I just want to seek your opinion as all our shuttlers at the Asian Games have been knocked out, a bitter pill to swallow.”

Norza, now a Tan Sri, voiced out his inner feelings of concern on the direction the sport was heading despite millions spent.

I then proceeded to ask him one pertinent question – do you believe in the young players and he retorted that there were some talents in the back up squad.

“I am contemplating replacing the seniors with the youngsters,“ confessed Norza.

“Change is something different that our Badminton fans will not readily accept.

“Besides, the initial results will not be be good and BAM as an institution will be under pressure.”

I told him to go for it, to throw the young into the deep end as I did with NS in 1993 when I fielded U18 players in the MHL.

Norza listened and came up with this resolve – damn if I did and damn if he did not.

It was not suicide but rather a strong will of leadership qualities.

And the two Tampin lads ended the conversation with the usual salutations as I had dialysis in 4 hours time.

Changes were executed and the rest was history.

The youngsters were fast tracked and today, they are carrying the challenge with utmost confidence.

Kudos to Norza for daring to initiate changes and show leadership qualities.

In Malaysia, for a person who thought of the nation, the snubbing of Norza, the second most powerful person in sports from the invite list of Hari Sukan Negara was a shameful act by KBS and MSN.