Reason behind change in timings of Pakistan’s FIFA WCQ home leg against Cambodia revealed [Geo Super]

Reason behind change in timings of Pakistan’s FIFA WCQ home leg against Cambodia revealed [Geo Super]

by Faizan Lakhani

KARACHI: Pakistan will host Cambodia in the home leg of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier on October 17 at the Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad.

The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) was keen on starting the match at 4:00pm local time but the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) didn’t give them the go ahead since the floodlights at the venue do not meet the minimum requirements.

After AFC’s instructions, the match will now begin at 2:00pm in order to ensure that it finishes before sunset.

Additionally, the Punjab Stadium in Lahore was not approved by AFC since it doesn’t meet international requirements. As a result, if Pakistan qualifies for the round two of qualifiers, Jinnah Stadium will continue to host the Shaheens’ home matches.

However, the AFC officials will carry out another inspection once the facilities in Lahore have been improved. 

Earlier, the AFC Match Commissioner Kemel Tokabaev visited the Jinnah Stadium on September 20 to oversee the preparations and ensure that all arrangements were in place for this important qualifier match.

The return of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers to Pakistan marks a significant moment for the country’s footballing landscape. The last time Pakistan hosted a World Cup qualifier was in 2011 when they faced Bangladesh.

Since then, the football-loving nation has eagerly awaited the opportunity to once again witness international football on home soil. In 2015, Pakistan hosted Afghanistan in their last international friendly match.

It must be noted that the first leg between the two teams will be held in Cambodia on October 12.

Pakistan squad:

Goalkeepers: Usman Ali, Salman ul Haq and Yousaf Butt.

Defenders: Mamoon Moosa Khan, Mohibullah, Sohail Khan, Juniad Shah, Ali Khan Niazi, Rao Umar Hayat, Abdullah Iqbal and Easah Suliman.

Midfielders: Alamgir Ghazi, Ali Uzair, Rajab Ali, Nizamuddin, Harun Hamid and Rahis Nabi.

Forwards: Waleed Khan, Mohammad Waheed, Yousuf, Fareed Khan, Abdul Samad, Otis Khan, Moin Ahmed and Shayak Dost.

Published in Geo Super, 6 October 2023