by Sohail Imran
LAHORE: The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) have replied to the request of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) of playing the home leg of FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier against Cambodia in Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad.
The PSB wants the PFF NC to visit the Jinnah Stadium to assess whether the venue is in a condition to play an international match or not.
A delegation of the PFF NC will visit the stadium on Thursday (August 17) at the request of PSB.
The PFF also requested the Sports Board Punjab (SPB) to give the Punjab Stadium in Lahore for the same purpose but they have not yet received any reply from them.
The PFF NC will need to submit the final venue with FIFA by August 18.
Upon PFF’s submission of the final venue, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) members will come to Pakistan to inspect the venue.
Earlier on Friday (August 12), a two-member delegation of PFF held a meeting with the SPB Director General Dr Asif Tufail at his office.
The delegation requested Asif to give NC the Punjab Stadium for conducting FIFA World Cup Qualifiers home leg against Cambodia on October 17.
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.
According to current FIFA Rankings, Cambodia are ranked 176 meanwhile Pakistan are in 201.
The winner of the Pakistan-Cambodia clash will join Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tajikistan in Group G for round two of the qualifiers.
It must be noted that Pakistan last hosted a FIFA/AFC World Cup Qualifier in 2011 when Bangladesh played at the Punjab Stadium.