Neutral venue among options for home leg of Pakistan’s FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Pakistan will face Cambodia on October 12 and 17

August 05, 2023
Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad - Geo Super

KARACHI: Neutral venue is being considered by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee for the home leg of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier round one against Cambodia.

In the first round of the qualifiers, Pakistan will travel to Cambodia for the first leg on October 12. Meanwhile, the second leg will be hosted by Pakistan on October 17.

However, it remains to be seen whether the PFF NC will host the match on home soil or at a neutral venue.

According to sources, PFF is facility difficulties in ensuring that the second leg takes place in Pakistan.

Islamabad’s Jinnah Stadium and Lahore’s Punjab Stadium were among the options for the Qualifier but both don’t meet FIFA regulations at the moment. Pitch, floodlights and availability of rooms at the venues is a major concern for the PFF. It must be noted that dressing room, medical room, technical officials’ room and broadcasters’ room are among the requirements laid down by FIFA at a venue.

Sources added that hosting the match at home will be difficult for Pakistan unless the stadiums are upgraded.

PFF NC which will need to submit the final venue with FIFA by August 18.

Pakistan last hosted an FIFA/AFC World Cup Qualifier in 2011, when Bangladesh played at the Punjab Stadium.

According to current FIFA Rankings, Cambodia are ranked 176 meanwhile Pakistan are in 201.

The winner of Pakistan-Cambodia clash will join Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tajikistan in Group G for round two of the qualifiers.

Faizan Lakhani is Deputy Editor (Sports) at Geo News.