13 November 2012

Ethiopia: National Team Move Up Fifa Ranking

Addis Ababa — The Ethiopian National Football Team have moved up sixteen places to 102nd spot in the November ranking made public by the world football governing body, FIFA.

The Ethiopian side also improved on the same number from 36th to 28th in the Africa ranking with Niger Republic making the highest leap of 30 places to 107th in the world and 30th in Africa.

The national team's improvement on the monthly ranking would not come as a surprise to the football fans. The national side climbed following their qualification for the 2013 African Nations Cup, which falls within the month under review. After the 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Sudan the national side's position went down to 118th in the October FIFA rankings.

But they earned this big improvement because of the achievements made in the African Nations Cup and the Wold Cup qualifiers. In the African Nations Cup qualifiers they beat Sudan 2-0 to get a place in the 2013 South African Nations Cup finals. In the World Cup qualifiers the national side are on top of Group A on 4 points. In the first away match they had a 1-1 tie against South Africa. In the second qualifier the national side beat Central African Republic (CAR), two to nothing. The Egypt-based Salahdin Seid scored all three goals. CAR recently handed seven-time African champions Egypt a rare defeat in Alexandria.

Cote d'Ivoire still top the Africa ranking, as the nation is 15th in the world, while Algeria moved up five places to occupy Africa's second spot and 19th in the world.

Mali are third on the Africa ranking after the West African nation dropped one place and now ranked 28th in the world. The reigning African champions Zambia, Chipolopolo, are currently fifth on the Africa ranking and 39th in the world. Ghana's Black Stars are rated among the top 30 best teams in the world after placing 29th in the world. The Stars moved two places up to their current position and fourth on the Africa ranking. Egypt, Tunisia, Central African Republic, Gabon and Nigeria making up the top 10 ranked teams on the continent. Of the nine countries above Nigeria, Egypt, CAR, and Gabon did not qualify for the 2013 African Cup of Nations to be held in South Africa in January.

The latest in the FIFA Coca-Cola monthly ranking saw Liberia declining massively in the world and in the continent with the Lone Star dropping from 98th in the world to 114th and 27th in Africa to 32nd respectively. This means, Liberia dropped to 16 places from the October ranking in the world and five places in Africa.

Liberia gigantic demotion can be ascribed to the team's dismal performance in Nigeria on October 13, 2012 when the Lone Star was buried 6-1 to the Super Eagles in Calabar as this is a major challenge to the Liberian football house to ensure that mechanisms are put in place to enable the team excel in the ranking.

Bafana Bafana are now rated 21st in Africa, an embarrassment for the country as they prepare to host the Africa Cup of Nations next year. Only three times in the last 20 years have Bafana Bafana been ranked lower.

They are comfortably the lowest-ranked side in their 2013 Nations Cup pool. Cape Verde are 63rd in the world and 14th in Africa, Morocco (72nd in the world, 16th in Africa) and Angola (79th and 20th) all ahead of them.

FIFA rankings contradict Botswana's poor run. Botswana, popularly known as Zebra, move up three places is indeed a surprise. Stanley Tshosane's men are now ranked 117th in the world and 34th in Africa. In the last rankings, Zebras had also moved up three places despite their poor performance in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers. At that time they moved up despite losing 3-0 in a one-sided match played in Mali.

This time, they move up three places again despite having lost with yet another big margin to the same opponents at home. Zebras were once again outplayed in the second leg of the qualifiers at the New Lobatse Stadium last month losing 4-1, thereby failing to book a ticket to next year's AFCON finals in South Africa. Mali qualified by a 7-1 aggregate score. Surprisingly, Mali who walloped Zebras away from home have moved one place down on the latest rankings. (Mali are ranked 28th in the world and third in Africa.)

It is said that former Botswana Football Association (BFA) chief executive officer (CEO) and now FIFA development officer responsible for Southern Africa and East Africa, Ashford Mamelodi, is one of the top football officials who is suspected to have his hand in this rankings.

Spain remain the best side in the world, followed by Germany, while Argentina have slipped into third ahead of Portugal. Italy are fifth, while the remainder of the top 10 is England, Netherlands, Colombia, Russia and Croatia.

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