Kalinga Stadium. Image Source: IANS News
Bhubaneswar, Sep 2 : Following the successful hosting of the FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup last year, Odisha’s Kalinga Stadium along with Guwahati will host India’s first two qualifying matches for the 2026 FIFA World Cup to be jointly hosted by the US, Mexico and Canada.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has officially announced in a communication to the Football Association of Odisha that the state will host the much-anticipated India -Qatar match, a critical fixture in the WC qualifiers as well as for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup, at the iconic Kalinga Stadium on November 21.
This decision by AIFF reaffirms Odisha’s growing reputation as a hub for sports and a destination of choice for international events, including football.
Bhubaneswar, the host city, also has five FIFA standard natural pitches that further adds to the state’s ability to host marquee football tournaments.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “We are immensely honoured and thrilled to host the India-Qatar match. This event not only showcases Odisha’s passion for football, but also highlights our commitment to promoting the game in the state. We look forward to welcoming the players, fans, and football enthusiasts from across the nation to witness this historic moment in Odisha,” he said.