Kathmandu, November 11
Nepal will play their home match against Kuwait at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimpu after the Asian Football Confederation approved the proposal of All Nepal Football Association to host the match in Bhutan.
The ANFA was forced to find the neutral venue after the AFC refused to approve the under-construction Dasharath Stadium for the Asian Qualifiers ties for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
“The AFC on Monday approved Changlimithang Stadium as the neutral venue for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers/ Preliminary Round II match between Nepal and Kuwait on November 19,” said the ANFA on its official website. “The ANFA and Bhutan Football Federation had made an agreement to arrange all logistic matters for the match.”
AFC Competition Department representative Deng Xiaolong had come to Nepal to inspect the Dasharath Stadium on November 5 and based on his report the Asian body said the match could not be held in Nepal.
Previous reports suggested Kuwait FA was not satisfied with the condition of the Dasharath Stadium, which was damaged by the massive earthquake in 2015 and is under renovation. But the ANFA wanted to host the match at the Dasharath Stadium, which is being partly reconstructed by the National Sports Council to host the South Asian Games in December.
Nepal have already played all four away matches of the joint qualifiers of the two tournaments. They are currently fourth in the five-team table with just one win. Nepal began the campaign with a 7-0 loss at the hands of Kuwait at the Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium on September 5 before beating Chinese Taipei 2-0 at the Taipei Municipal Stadium five days later.
Nepal then suffered a 5-0 defeat against Australia at Canberra Stadium on October 10 and lost 3-0 against Jordan at the Amman International Stadium on October 15.
After hosting Kuwait on November 19, Nepal will face Chinese Taipei and Australia in March next year before playing against Jordan in June.
The Dasharath Stadium is expected to be ready to host the three remaining home matches next year.
A version of this article appears in print on November 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.