Ampang Jaya Badminton Club will be resting their SS Purple League 2016/17 title hopes on their two new imports during Stage 2, which will be held at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting, next week. Ampang Jaya BC, who finished fifth in Stage 1, strengthened their team by bringing in two new faces from India and Vietnam, Ajay Jayaram (pictured) and Nguyen Tien Minh as they look forward to go far in the knock-out stage of this season’s SSPL. File pix by Rosli Ahmad

KUALA LUMPUR: Ampang Jaya Badminton Club will be resting their SS Purple League 2016/17 title hopes on their two new imports during Stage 2, which will be held at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting, next week.

Ampang Jaya BC, who finished fifth in Stage 1, strengthened their team by bringing in two new faces from India and Vietnam as they look forward to go far in the knock-out stage of this season’s SSPL.

“We are still in the process of strengthening our men’s singles as we prepare for the knock-out stage, which is why we brought in two new players, Ajay Jayaram and Nguyen Tien Minh,” said Ampang Jaya head coach, Ho Khek Mong.

Khek Mong predicts a close encounter in their first knockout match against Puchong United, who also invested heavily in strengthening their side.

“I foresee a 50-50 chance going against Puchong United, as they are really strong in the singles event, whereas we are confident that our doubles pairs, especially Lukhi Nugroho-Muhammad Syawal, will contribute important points for us,” said Khek Mong when contacted earlier.

“This is the main reason for bringing in new singles players, as we are hoping to stage some upset. Anyway, I am just hoping that our players will play well and give their best,” he said.

According to the coach, the presence of the new players is not only beneficial in the team’s title chase, but also plays a significant role, as they can share their experiences and skills with the club’s junior players.

Ampang Jaya finished seventh last season, while Muar City BC were crowned champions, Petaling Jaya BC came in second and third place went to Puchong United BC.

As for this season, six teams have qualified for the knockout stage – Muar BC, Bandar Utama Dragons BC, Puchong United BC, Petaling Jaya BC, Ampang Jaya BC and Petaling BC.

Stage 2 is set for Feb 9-12. The remaining bottom four teams – Kepong BC, Serdang BC, Bangsar Hawks BC and Klang City BC will play each other to determine seventh-10th place.

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