‘Mixed feelings’ about Cabrera

Javier Cabrera (L) and Paul Smalley (2L) during the meeting at the BFF house on October 11, 2022. Photo: BFF

Having met with the Bangladesh coach Javier Cabrera and technical director Paul Smalley following the recent performance of the national football team, the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) is now searching a path to counter the inconsistent performance of the men in red and green, which especially becomes prominent during a tournament's latter stages.

The charges of Cabrera last month played two FIFA friendly matches, where they beat Cambodia 1-0 but lost 3-1 against Nepal in the second match. In June, Bangladesh suffered defeats in all three matches of Asian Cup Qualifiers but they showed signs of improvement in the first two matches before getting crushed at the hands of Malaysia in the third match.

"If you look back, the booters drew with Nepal in their fourth match of the SAFF Championship when they needed a victory to progress to the final. They also suffered defeat against hosts Sri Lanka in their last match of an invitational tournament in Colombo while needing just a draw to play the final," said the National Team's Committee chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed at a press briefing following a meeting with Cabrera and Paul Smalley at the BFF House today.

"Similarly, in June, the boys showed their improvements against Bahrain and Turkmenistan during the Asian Cup Qualifiers but suffered heavily against Malaysia in the third match. Apparently the booters can't do well in the third or fourth matches. Why? We have discussed the matter with the coach and technical director and we have to find out how to overcome this problem," Ahmed added.

Under the guidance of Cabrera, Bangladesh won one and drew two out of eight matches in the last seven months since the 37-year-old Spaniard was appointed as the head coach.

Although Cabrera and Smalley looked gloomy after the meeting, the national teams' committee neither expressed full satisfaction nor dissatisfaction over the Spanish coach.

With nearly three months left for Cabrera's one-year contract to expire, and no international engagements in this period, the question has been raised regarding whether Cabrera's contract will be extended or not?

"The contract extension with the coach is a different matter because today we reviewed the different things of the national teams, such as team's outcomes, preparation, performance on the ground during their matches of the FIFA window in June and September," said the national teams' committee chairman.

"We will sit again after four weeks and in that time, we will take our decision [whether to extend the contract or not] because this matter is not an emergency one at the moment," he added.

Asked how much the committee was satisfied with the performance of Cabrera, Nabil said, "It is not a matter of satisfaction, it is an ongoing matter. We have both feelings of good and bad. We have to work accordingly for the betterment of the players and the country."




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