11 December 2012

Tanzania: Twiga Stars Remain Stagnant in FIFA World Rankings

THE last FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking of 2012 shows that the national women's team, Twiga Stars, have completed the year ranked in 119th position in the world and 18th on the continent.

Despite the stagnant, Twiga Stars, who climbed by a place in the previous rankings released in August, maintained their dominance in the East African region. Twiga Stars failed to add to their 941 points tally this month, such is the team's inactivity.

The local queens have not played any international match since June when they crashed out of the women's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on 3-1 goal aggregate to Ethiopia. Ethiopia lead the East and Central African region as they are positioned 100 in the world and 14th in the continent with 1163 points.

Kenya, having accumulated 816 points, remain bottom of the 131-team world table. They are also bottom of the 36-team continental chart as well. Uganda, meanwhile, are third bottom in the continent in 34th position and 131 in the world after tallying 965 points.

In Africa, Nigeria still lead the way with Cameroon, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa making up the top five. Nigeria, however, dropped five places in the world rankings to rest on 32nd. Despite experiencing mixed fortunes at the Olympic Football Tournament in London, the three teams at the top of the ranking have maintained their positions on the continent.

Olympic champions USA have once again comfortably held on to their lead on the back of their unbeaten run, which currently stands at more than 20 games. Their closest challengers, Germany, were unable to make up much ground in their two clashes with the Americans in October, with both finishing all square.

Elsewhere, Italy's joy at returning to the top ten for the first time since 2006 was also shortlived, as the Azzurre (11th, down 1) have relinquished their place to Korea DPR (9th, up 2), who recovered after slipping out of the top ten for the first time.

Vietnam (30th, up 1) are another Asian team with the wind in their sails, having beaten Myanmar in the final of the AFF Women's Championship 2012 to not only avenge their defeat by the same opponents in 2011 but also to climb into the top 30 for the fifth time.

The biggest movers in December, however, are the new African champions, Equatorial Guinea (54th, up 8), with the team that played in the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011 recently lifting the coveted trophy for the second time in the association's history.

That victory has seen them overtake beaten finalists South Africa (56th) to move into their highest-ever position since the launch of the women's world ranking. Despite their narrow defeat in the play-offs for the UEFA Women's EURO 2013, Austria (32nd, up 3) are also higher than ever before and have gone from strength to strength in 2012, climbing from 39th to 32nd.

Meanwhile Bhutan (128th, new) are included in the ranking for the first-ever time despite losing their first three matches. The next FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking will be published on 22 March 2013.

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