Malaysian badminton stars Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng have discussed the challenge the national team will face defending their Axiata Cup title without suspended star Lee Chong Wei.
Chong Wei has been provisionally suspended following a positive test for a banned substance. The world number one will find out his fate after a meeting of BWF officials in December.
Daren believes the side should try to defend their title for Chong Wei. He said: "We were the semi-finalists in the first edition of the Axiata Cup (2012), and then we became champions last year.
"Chong Wei played a big part to help clinch the title, and now he is out because of an unfortunate case.
"I think the whole team need to give their all and try to retain the title for Chong Wei even if it is going to be tough."
Daren added: "This year will probably be our toughest Axiata Cup, because all the other teams are very strong.
"But we won’t give up, and we will give our best. Retaining the title will not only make Chong Wei happy, but it will be good for badminton Malaysia after a tough year."
The competition sees Thailand, Indonesia, an Asia all-stars team, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and teams from Europe play vying to book a semi-final berth.
Wei Feng expressed similar sentiments to his teammate Daren, expressing concern about playing without their star.
He said: "It is undeniable it will be a uphill task to defend the cup without Chong Wei. But I am confident if we make it to the semi-final, I think the players would be ready for the final challenge.
"We also have the experience of playing in team championship."