KUALA LUMPUR, (MARCH 8, 2013): Malaysia has their best chance yet to register their first ever ISTAF SuperSeries win over top seeds Thailand and grab the overall season title when both teams meet in the finals of ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14.
The hosts confidently beat Brunei 15-8, 15-8, 15-8 in the semifinals in front of a packed Titiwangsa Stadium here today, and according to Thailand team manager Tanawat Pyasongcharoen, there is more than a 50 percent chance his team will fall to the second seeds.
“We only have our C team here and their performance is inferior to the Malaysians,” he said after his own team’s hard-fought semifinal match against Korea. Thailand, the tournament’s top seeds and defending champions, took 1 hour and 20 minutes to beat the Koreans 15-8, 15-7, 15-10, 15-9.
“Malaysia has a very skilful team, and my side always faces pressure and stress when we face them,” said Tanawat.
He added that as manager, his point of view differed from captain Somporn Jaisinghol, whose statement that Thailand would win the finals was meant to instil confidence and inspire the Thai team.
Malaysia has never claimed a SuperSeries title since the platform kicked-off in 2011. They lost the second and third 2013/14 preliminary legs in Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu to Thailand and the first in New Delhi to Korea.
National coach Jamaluddin Hassan said he was happy with his team’s effortless performance against Brunei, but hoped they would perform better against the Thais.
“We’ve had easy matches all the while, but the final against Thailand will be a different story,” he said. “This is our last chance this season to win and we’ll go all out to ensure we do.”
The winner of the final also claims the overall ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 crown, and Jamaluddin said his team will bank on crowd support and home ground advantage to give them an edge over their heavily-favoured rivals.
“Thailand may be playing their C team, but all their players are more experienced than ours and not at all nervous about playing in front of a huge crowd,” he said. “I will need to study their past matches on video to decide on our starting line-up.”
The Malaysian women’s team made history by qualifying for their first ISTAF SuperSeries final when the regu of Noor Fairuz Azizan, Nor Farhana Ismail and Rahilah Harun beat Myanmar 15-10, 15-11, 15-10 in the semifinals.
The national side will take on top seeds and defending champion Thailand, who defeated unseeded Indonesia 15-9, 15-3, 15-8 in the other semifinals.
“We only targeted the semifinals, but now we’re in the finals for the first time ever,” said coach Md Fikri Nor. “Although they are the best team in the world, we will do our best against them.”
The team lost 3-0 to Thailand in the semifinals of the preliminary legs in Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu. They have never finished higher than fourth in all three legs.
The ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 is organised by Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia and supported by the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF). The ISTAF SuperSeries platform was created by Asia Sports Ventures, ISTAF’s exclusive global commercial and developmental partner.
The ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 will be televised on ASTRO Arena, ASTRO SuperSports and SuperSports HD (all in High Definition) and RTM. Selected matches including the men’s quarter-finals, third-fourth placing match and both men’s and women’s finals are to be aired live.
The tournament will also be telecast to 70 countries worldwide.
ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 kicked off with ISTAF SuperSeries India in New Delhi (August
29-September 1), followed by ISTAF SuperSeries Thailand in Bangkok (September 26-29) and ISTAF SuperSeries Malaysia in Sabah (October 30-November 3).
Semifinals (March 8)
Malaysia bt Brunei 3-0 (15-8, 15-8, 15-8)
Thailand bt Korea 3-1 (15-8, 15-7, 15-10, 15-9)
Malaysia bt Myanmar 3-0 (15-10, 15-11, 15-10)
Thailand bt Indonesia 3-0 (15-9, 15-3, 15-8)
Final (March 9)
Men’s: Malaysia vs Thailand (4.20pm)
Women’s: Malaysian vs Thailand (3.10pm)
More information on ISTAF SuperSeries
Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the elite, internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament acknowledged by ISTAF and therefore plays a key role in deciding the official ISTAF World Rankings.
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