Cabrera eyes SAFF semis despite Lebanon in group
Bangladesh coach Javier Cabrera took a positive view of the draw for the upcoming SAFF Championship and said he wants to grab the opportunity to advance to the semifinals of the regional football event, which is scheduled for June 21 to July 4 in Bengaluru, India.
With two teams from Middle East – Lebanon and Kuwait, invited to the regional tournament for the first time, Bangladesh were drawn in comparatively easier Group B alongside top-ranked Lebanon, Maldives and Bhutan. Group A features hosts India, Kuwait, Nepal and Pakistan.
Bangladesh, the 2003 champion, could not get out of the group stages in the last five editions. The recent performance of the men in red and green is not that promising, yet Cabrera is hopeful about making it to the semifinals.
"Both groups are very tough. We got the highest ranked team of Lebanon. We believe if we are able to perform at the level that we have to, then we will have chances to achieve the objective, which is semifinals," Cabrera told reporters following the draw in New Delhi.
In reply to another question, the Spaniard said, "We believe we can make things difficult for everyone as we are going to give our best to make the semifinal possible. The plan is to win two matches to go to the semifinals."
Bangladesh team will start a residential camp from June 4 and will play an international friendly against Cambodia on June 15 before heading to Bengaluru for the SAFF Championship.