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Ready to take challenges, says Cabrera

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 20 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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Ready to take challenges, says Cabrera
The newly-appointed head coach of the Bangladesh national football team Javier Cabrera (third right) speaks to media during a press conference at BFF house on Wednesday. – BFF PHOTO

The newly-appointed head coach of the Bangladesh national football team Javier Cabrera confidently said that he was familiar with the football model and culture here as he had been monitoring Bangladesh football since his coaching days in India.

The 37-year-old Spaniard also said that he had closely followed the national side in the last SAFF and Sri Lanka tour as well as two AFC Cup playing clubs Bashundhara Kings and Dhaka Abahani to understand the competitive nature clearly.

“I’m extremely motivated with the challenge and absolutely convinced for it. I’ve spent around 8 years in India and had the chance to follow specially SAFF football. I know that Bangladeshi clubs, especially those who have been competing in AFC Cup like Bashundhara Kings and Abahani,” Cabrera said. 

“In that way I think I am not new to this and that experience of having in working in India much time will give me some advantages, to understand the football culture and context which I’m gonna face here in Bangladesh. I think it will be a beautiful challenge for me,” he said. 

Cabrera, the 23rd foreign coach of Bangladesh and the third Spanish coach after Gonzalo Sanchez Moreno and Oscar Bruzon, officially signed an 11-month contract with Bangladesh Football Federation in the presence of national team committee chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed at BFF house on Wednesday.

Though Cabrera has been working in professional football since 2004, he hadn’t ever coached any national team until the offer from BFF. The 37-year-old set his goal here to form a competitive squad and high-performance structure.

“My intention is to create a competitive team and a proper high performances structure. I’m very positive about what I have seen from the players in both Federation Cup and Independence Cup. I’ve also got some chances to watch the matches of SAFF. We have very competitive players with good talents,” he said. 

“I don’t need to reduce their options in one specific game model but I will give the players the tools to understand the game demands. I need to start from zero, have to create the football identity. The players are needed to be clear about what we want from them and how can we be successful together. That is our responsibility to create that confidence in the players. Whatever they face in the match, they have to know what to do and what are their roles and functions,” he further said.

Cabrera said that his first task would be to get a clear idea about the local clubs and the local technical staff here so that he would be able to assess the players’ levels and qualities.

“I think we need to go step by step; the first thing would be in March to get all the players together. Before that, I have to meet the clubs to know better the football culture of Bangladesh to know better all club, officials, technical staffs, to know closely how they train players in their clubs and watch the BPL matches,” he said while briefing his plan.

“Definitely, we want to improve rankings, but I can’t say the exact numbers. The main objective is the win the game, but if you are not competitive, if you don’t create a competitive squad first, that is not gonna happen. What happened in SAFF and Sri Lanka, I’m quite impressed especially with the well-structured and well-organised gameplay. They lack some fortune at the end but I think their performances were quite remarkable,” he added.     

The head coach arrived in Dhaka on Saturday and met with BFF president Kazi Salahuddin on Monday after testing negative for Covid. When asked about their closed-door meeting, Cabrera informed that they talked about the national team’s last moment flaw during some crucial matches of last year's FIFA, AFC qualifiers, SAFF and Sri Lanka tour.

“The meeting with the president a day before yesterday was very positive. He shared with me the situation that happened in the last tournament. I knew that because I was also able to watch that tournament. I think that was a matter of confidence in players. If you create that real situation in the training, they will be used to with those situations, they will be able to face those situations during the game,” he concluded.