GENTING HIGHLANDS (8th FEBRUARY 2017) : Six badminton clubs will be battling it out in the SS Purple League (SSPL) 2016/17 Stage 2 for the privilege to be crowned champions when the knockout stage starts tomorrow at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting.
Teams who secured the top six spots of the league qualified for the knockout stage are Muar BC, Bandar Utama Dragons BC, Puchong United BC, Petaling Jaya BC, Ampang Jaya BC and Petaling BC.
Muar and BU Dragons have the advantage of a guaranteed spot in the semi-finals as they secured first and second place respectively in the round robin stage. Therefore, the other two semi-final spots are still up for grabs. Puchong United will be facing Ampang Jaya and on the other side of the draw, Petaling will be playing against Petaling Jaya for the two spots.
Debutants BU Dragons who recently capped off the SSPL 2016/17 Stage 1 in fine fashion will be looking to carry on their impressive run of form into Stage 2.
BU Dragons head coach, Tan Bin Shen feels that his squad is ready to go all the way and win the trophy especially after displaying brilliant performances through the first stage.
“So far preparation for the knockout stage has been going on well. Though it is sad that we will not be having Goh Jin Wei with us, I hope our new signing – American international, Zhang Beiwen will be a good replacement,” said Bin Shen.
“I hope she will be able to adapt not only to the weather, but also to SSPL’s format later in Arena of Stars, as this is her first time playing with us this season,” Bin Shen added.
The former national player is relying on the import player to give her best shot as he aims to fulfil his goal of at least reaching the final of the knockout stage.
“Emil Holst, Wei Nan, and Markis Kido will be playing key roles in our bid to reach the final. Nevertheless, in my opinion, we have the same chance of advancing into the final whether we face Petaling or Petaling Jaya,” said Bin Shen.
“As debutants, I do hope that all my players can create history by being champions of SS Purple League this season,” said Bin Shen who is also hoping for his players to produce some shocks in the knockout stage.
For the coming knockout stage, the teams have taken advantage of the January transfer window to make changes to their squad.
Among the new players that will be playing in Resorts World Genting includes Kim Sa Rang and Shin Baek Cheol who wil be representing Petaling Jaya BC, former world number one, Wang Yihan will be playing for Petaling BC, Christinna Pedersen (Puchong United BC), Olympic 2008 gold medallist, Lee Yong Dae (Muar BC), Zhang Beiwen (BU Dragons), and Indian international Ajay Jayaram will be appearing for Ampang Jaya BC.
The top six teams in the league will be battling out in the knockout stage until the champion of the SSPL is crowned, which will take place from the 9th to 12th of February in Arena of Stars, Genting Highlands.
The bottom four teams will be competing in order to determine the 7th to 10th placing in the league.