KARACHI: Pakistan will face Cambodia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup preliminary joint qualification round-1, which will comprise two legs on June 6 and June 11 this year.
This was unveiled during the draws for the 12 lowest-ranked sides of Asia held at the Asian Football Confederation headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
The six winners will join 34 nations in the second round to be held in September.
Seeded teams Malaysia, Cambodia, Macau, Laos, Bhutan and Mongolia were handed challenging fixtures for a place in the next qualifying round, the AFC said in a press release after the draws.
It is not yet known whether Pakistan would be able to play in the qualifiers because of complicated issues.
A fact-finding mission of FIFA and AFC will land in Lahore on May 28 and hardly a week after the visit the first leg of the qualifiers will be played. That means that it is not possible that the world body will be able to take any decision on Pakistan’s issue. There are chances that the Greenshirts will miss the joint qualifiers like they did in the 2020 Olympics qualifiers in Uzbekistan.
Cambodia occupy 173rd spot in the world rankings while Pakistan are placed 200th.
Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa on Wednesday said that all parties concerned should set aside their personal interests and ensure Pakistan’s participation in the major event.