Kalinga Stadium to host India’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Qatar
India’s return leg FIFA World Cup group E qualifier against defending champions Qatar next month will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said on Friday. “Yes, Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar will host the match on March 26,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said.
The Kalinga Stadium, which is the home ground of Odisha FC, witnessed impressive turnout this season.
“We want to spread the game to new venues and the state has shown tremendous support for football,” he added.
The Kalinga Stadium pitch, however, had drawn flak this season and in the aftermath of their 0-2 loss, Chennaiyin FC coach Owen Coyle had said no match should be played there.
But Das said it would be taken care of by the authorities in Odisha.
India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu put up a heroic display and survived a slew of attacks from Qatar to hold the Asian champions for a famous goalless draw in the first-leg at Doha in September last year.
With three points from five matches, India lie ahead of bottom-placed Bangladesh in the five-team table and the Igor Stimac-coached side’s qualifying hopes is all but over.