NEW DELHI: Bhubaneswar and Guwahati have been chosen as the venues for India's first two home matches in the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2, as officially declared by the All India Football Federation on Saturday.
India finds itself placed in Group A for the Asian qualifiers, sharing the stage with formidable opponents Qatar and Kuwait, along with the victor of the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 clash between Afghanistan and Mongolia.
The journey kicks off with India facing Kuwait in an away game scheduled for November 16, followed by a momentous showdown against the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions, Qatar, set to take place at Bhubaneswar's illustrious Kalinga Stadium on November 21 this year.
Looking ahead to 2024, India will engage in consecutive matches against either Afghanistan or Mongolia. The first leg unfolds as an away encounter on March 21, while the team returns to their home turf at Guwahati's Indira Gandhi Stadium for the second leg, scheduled for March 26.
AIFF secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran expressed his congratulations to the Football Association of Odisha and the Assam Football Association for their successful bids in securing hosting rights for these crucial matches. He extended best wishes for their efforts to deliver world-class events with support from the respective state governments.
Further details about the hosts for India's home leg against Kuwait on June 6 next year will be revealed at a later date, promising more excitement for football enthusiasts across the nation.