The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) is currently grappling with a significant challenge in their preparations for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, specifically when it comes to organizing home matches. As they endeavor to meet FIFA’s stringent standards for hosting such crucial games, the PFF National Committee (NC) finds itself facing a series of obstacles.

One of the primary issues at hand is the search for a suitable stadium that meets all the criteria set forth by FIFA to host international matches. Although options like Islamabad’s Jinnah Stadium and Lahore’s Punjab Stadium were considered, they seem to lack some of the necessary facilities required to comply with FIFA’s regulations. Adding to the complexity, Punjab Stadium also houses the offices of the Sports Board, which further complicates the situation in accommodating teams and officials.

The core problems revolve around various aspects essential for a successful international match, including the quality of the pitch and floodlights, availability of dressing rooms, medical facilities, technical officials’ rooms, and proper broadcast facilities. All of these must meet FIFA’s high standards to ensure the smooth conduct of matches.

The PFF NC is now faced with a race against time, with the deadline for finalizing the venue quickly approaching on August 18. This urgency has prompted the Pakistan Football Federation to initiate discussions about the possibility of hosting matches at a neutral venue as a temporary solution while they work towards upgrading their home ground to fulfill FIFA’s requirements.

With the FIFA World Cup 2023 qualifiers fast approaching, Pakistan is scheduled to face Cambodia in the first round in October. The first leg will be held in Cambodia on October 12, while Pakistan’s home game is slated for October 17. As the clock ticks down, the PFF is determined to find a suitable solution to ensure a smooth and successful FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

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