Can Cabrera conjure up a convincing act?
As Bangladesh take on Mongolia in a FIFA friendly match at the Sylhet District Stadium today, there will be a lot of focus on whether the team can bounce back from a 2-0 defeat against Maldives last week.
The match in Male wasn't available on TV in Bangladesh, so the team might have escaped some of the scrutiny it usually hogs. But when playing against Mongolia in front of a local crowd and the match being telecast live, there won't be any hiding for Javier Cabrera and his men.
Expectations from the locals will be no less than a victory against a side pretty similar in their world standing but obviously at a disadvantage of playing in conditions that are foreign to them.
When asked how crucial a win was for him to retain the backing of the federation, the Spaniard was rather diplomatic.
"It's always important (to win). Our goal and objective against Maldives was to win. But we need to do it the way we are working, we need to do it the way our game idea we are developing. It's important for the team" Cabrera said, emphasising on the process and style he wants to implement with the team, during the official pre-match press meet at the match venue.
Cabrera is still inexperienced at this level, having been in charge of academies in his native Spain apart from a spell as an assistant coach in an Indian club. He was kind of thrusted with the responsibility of guiding Bangladesh as the temporary resorts by the Bangladesh Football Federation did not yield success since the termination of long-term coach Jamie Day towards the end of last year.
Day, too, was a rookie when he was handed the reins of Bangladesh in the middle of 2018. The team made noticeable improvements under the British coach in the first two years before results started to dwindle.
Cabrera, too, is a similar experiment by the BFF, although judging by the football philosophy, it's a different direction that Bangladesh wants to tread now.
Ditching the no-nonsense, tough-tackling physical football of Day, Bangladesh want to adopt the possession-based attacking football, espoused briefly by Oscar Bruzon.
Captain Jamal Bhuyan spoke of the similarities between the two Spaniards but did not want to elaborate on the gameplan or the coach's ideas.
"Each coach has their own style of playing, each coach wants to implement their own style. It's up to the players to adapt to the style. His style and that of Oscar (Bruzon) is a bit similar," Jamal said.
While the Mongolia match will only be the second match under Cabrera, it will also be the last one that Bangladesh play before the crucial Asian Cup Qualifiers in June when they will meet Bahrain, Malaysia and Turkmenistan. The players will, after today, go back to their clubs and will be available to the coach only around 10 days ahead of the qualifiers.
Now fraught with having to choose between testing his ideas/personnel and winning the game, Cabrera said he wants to win for the country, but it was more important to be convinced at what they were doing.
That convincing, though, needs taking place not only inside the team, but also among the general people and the football federation.
Given that Bangladesh, as a team, is constantly losing ground to oppositions and losing appeal to its own people, the young Spaniard will need no less than a handsome victory – a victory with style and conviction – to convince everyone, at least for the time being.