Shillong, Aug 12: The remaining matches of the second round of the joint qualifiers for the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 have been postponed by the Asian Football Confederation to next year, it was announced today.
The Blue Tigers were scheduled to play Qatar on 8th October and Bangladesh and Afghanistan in November.
In a letter issued earlier today, the AFC announced that due to the threat of coronavirus continuing to loom over many countries, all of those qualifier games across the continent are going to be pushed back.
India were meant to play Qatar – who they drew against in the first leg – in Bhubaneshwar before travelling to Bangladesh and then taking on Afghanistan in Kolkata.
The matches were originally postponed to take place behind closed doors in October and November. However, the AFC has taken into account the complications regarding international travel and the mandatory quarantine protocols that come with it in the current situation, and decided it’s not fit for an international football competition.
While India’s chances of advancing to the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers are extremely thin, good results in these matches will help them get into the third round of Asian Cup qualifiers without having to go through an extra playoff. Wins in World Cup qualifiers also carry plenty of weight in the FIFA rankings.