Karachi: Uncertainty hovered over the fate of tomorrow's second leg 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Pakistan and Yemen scheduled to be be played in the city, which faced protests after the suicide bombings at two churches.
The Pakistan Football Federation said the situation was unfortunate and it was true that the Yemen contingent was anxious and tense about playing the match. "We have left it up to the FIFA to decide the fate of the match but it could also be played behind closed doors meaning spectators will not be allowed into the stadium on Tuesday," a PFF official told PTI.
FIFA match commissioner John Windsor of Malaysia cancelled the pre-match news conference of both teams. "We'll decide the fate of the game in consultation with the Yemen team," he said. Reports from within the Yemen team were not very positive as they said their players were not keen on playing the match. "The Yemen team believes they have not made proper preparations for the second leg of the qualifier and are reluctant to play," a source said.
It will be a big blow to Pakistan football if FIFA decides to call off the match after Pakistan were beaten in the first leg 3-1. Pakistan need a 2-0 win to qualify for the next round. Since the bombings on the two Churches yesterday violence has broken out in the city with angry Christians taking to the roads to protest failure of the government to provide them security.
Pakistan is also due to host a Olympic qualifying tournament here from March 23 for which teams from four different countries are due to reach the city later this week.