PFF nominate Jinnah Stadium for FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier

The home match against Cambodia will be played on October 17

August 18, 2023
Jinnah Stadium Islamabad — Author

KARACHI: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has officially nominated Islamabad’s Jinnah Stadium as the venue for their home match against Cambodia in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier.

Pakistan is scheduled to play its home game against Cambodia on October 17 after playing an away contest against them on October 12.

An official of the PFF Normalisation Committee (NC) confirmed to Geo News that they have sent the details about the venue to the AFC and FIFA and now they await final approval from them.

“Yes, today we have emailed them the official venue nomination form mentioning Islamabad’s Jinnah Stadium to play Pakistan’s home game against Cambodia in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier,” said PFF NC member Shahid Khokhar.

It is now likely that the global body will send a technical delegation to inspect the venue before giving it a final nod.

Jinnah Stadium last hosted a major event in 2014 which was SAFF Women's Championship.

The PFF has also confirmed that it has received an expression of willingness from the Punjab Sports Board to provide Punjab Stadium for the match.

However, a source in PFF said that the venue will be considered as a second option by PFF after an inspection visit to check the facilities there.

PFF had earlier approached Pakistan Sports Board, Punjab Sports Board and Saudi Arabian Football Authorities to explore possible venues for Pakistan’s home game against Cambodia in FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier.

The AFC had set the deadline of August 18th for PFF to finalise the venue.

If Islamabad’s Jinnah Stadium is approved by AFC to host the game, then it will be Pakistan’s first international assignment at home since 2015 when Pakistan played a friendly against Afghanistan in Lahore.

This will also be Pakistan’s first FIFA qualifier game at its own home ground since 2011. The game against Yemen in 2015 was moved to Bahrain after a bomb blast in Lahore while the 2019 game against Cambodia was moved to Qatar due to PFF political chaos.

Pakistan had last played a FIFA world cup qualifier at home in 2011 against Bangladesh.

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