Bhubaneswar to host India’s FIFA WC qualifier against Qatar

Kolkata, Feb 21 (IANS) The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar will host Indias FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier Group E tie against reigning Asian champions Qatar on March 26, All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed on Friday.

“Odisha is supporting football brilliantly and we have to spread the game to new venues,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told IANS while confirming the venue.

Kolkata, Kochi, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad were also in contention to host the match but in the end, Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Odisha FC’s home ground was chosen to host the return leg of the World Cup qualifier. India famously held Qatar to a 0-0 draw in their first meeting.

There have been concerns raised over underfoot conditions of the Kalinga Stadium with some ISL away team coaches not being too pleased with the pitch.

“It will be taken care of by the Odisha Government,” Das said when quizzed about the same.

India, coached by Croatian Igor Stimac, are virtually out of reckoning for a berth in the next round of the qualifiers as they have just three points from five matches and stay in fourth position of Group E with just Bangladesh below them in the five-team group.

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