Zambia’s 2026 World Cup Qualifiers Home Matches in Jeopardy as Stadiums Miss Approval List
With just two months remaining before the kickoff of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, Zambia faces the unsettling possibility of having to play their home matches away from home. Both the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium and National Heroes Stadium, which serve as Zambia’s national venues, have not been included in the list of approved stadiums released by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The list, comprising more than 30 stadiums, has been authorized to host the upcoming qualifiers set to begin in November. Unfortunately, neither of Zambia’s primary stadiums appears on this roster.
In Group E of the qualifiers, Zambia is slated to compete against formidable opponents, including 2022 World Cup semi-finalist Morocco, neighboring Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville, Eritrea, and Niger. However, the absence of approved home stadiums places Zambia in a precarious situation, akin to an orphaned child without a place to call home for their matches.
There remains a glimmer of hope for Zambia, as they could potentially be granted permission to host matches at home if the two venues successfully pass the next phase of inspection. CAF’s statement clarified that the list of approved stadiums for matchdays 1 and 2 of the FIFA World Cup 2026 African Qualifiers might be subject to updates based on the inspection process in place.
Amid these uncertainties, officials from the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) are yet to comment on the situation. Should Zambia be compelled to play their matches outside the country, several options exist, including utilizing stadiums in South Africa and Tanzania.
Zambia is scheduled to commence their World Cup qualifying journey against Congo Brazzaville, originally intended as a home match, in the second week of November. The team will then proceed to play away against Niger. The next few weeks are pivotal for Zambia’s preparations as they navigate the challenges posed by the lack of approved home venues.