Johor’s basketball coaches Low Tong and Thoh Cai Ling set eyes on gold via a global approach.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. So when it comes to raising a team of champion basketball players, 2 people have no choice but to give it their all to ensure that both the male and female squads reach their potential, for the glory of Johor Darul Takzim.
Meet coaches Low Tong and Thoh Cai Ling, a dynamic duo that has been pushing the limits of Johor’s basketball youths by their technical training methods and exposing these young athletes to compete internationally. Master Low Tong is a seasoned basketball coach, coaching since 1981 and has a track record of coaching for 40 years now.
“Majlis Sukan Negeri Johor has given us a lot of support, my last job was coaching for a school in Singapore, but I came back to train the Johor team in preparing for SUKMA 2020. Myanmar also asked me to train their national team, but I refused”, says coach Low Tong proving his pride and joy as a Johorean. To add, Low Tong has coached the Singaporean national team for 3 years.
“We focus on (majority) skills, conditioning, tactical, technical…practice makes perfect”, Low Tong says with a gentle tone. Even though he is soft spoken, his methods and command in basketball knowledge is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with - where the previous SUKMA in Perak witnessed the Johor team bringing back 3 gold medals. As defending champions for the last 4 SUKMA’s, these dedicated duo aim for greater heights for 2020. “This year, we are targeting to get 4 gold medals”, Thoh Cai Ling shares their aim.
Thoh Cai Ling herself has represented Malaysia internationally since 1999 and has trained under Low Tong for almost 20 years. Now she is side by side with her “Sifu” defending Johor’s basketball glory. She can still demonstrate her skills on the court and she owes it to Low Tong, claiming he’s the best technical coach in all of Malaysia. Cai Ling says that this is only the beginning for her, she aspires to coach overseas and committed to her career, boldly saying that she will coach basketball for the rest of her life. “In my coaching career, every time we go for a big tournament, we will bring back a gold medal”, Cai Ling adds to her list of accolades.
In the preparation for SUKMA 2020, training has already begun in March 2019, where it involves 3 sessions per day. The dedication and commitment by Johor’s basketball squad has made coaching for Low Tong and Thoh Cai Ling a seamless process. “So far, no problems. Their discipline is very good”, Thoh Cai Ling comments.
As a norm, both male and female teams will be sent for international matches as well as training camps such as in Taiwan or Japan prior to SUKMA or any important championship. And even after all that, the coaches would invite teams from neighbouring countries to compete in a small league. It’s an understatement to say that basketball is their passion - it is what they breathe for.
“In the court, we are (the players’) coaches. But outside, they are our children”, coach Low Tong sums up the interview - articulating their stern yet compassionate approach towards the Johor basketball team. No wonder these 2 are adored and respected by every player and using these dynamics, it is without a doubt that the Johor basketball squad will remain as champions for SUKMA 2020.