Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Stars Go Up in Fifa Rankings

TANZANIA's Taifa Stars have climbed six places in the World football rankings to start the year in 124th position.According to the latest release issued by world football governing body, FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, Tanzania tallied 264 points, a 11-point increase from last December's 253.

Tanzania closed the 2012 with an improved four places in the ranking and the latest improvement will be good news to the national soccer team Taifa Stars head coach, Kim Poulsen, as they prepare for their 2014 World Cup qualifier clash against Morocco in March, this year.

The country also scaled two places on the continent to rest on 36th place.Uganda remains the region's best ranked side on 81st position, up three places from their previous 84th slot. The Uganda Cranes who are the Senior Challenge Cup title holders are placed 21 on the continent.

Burundi who stunned Kilimanjaro Stars 1-0 during the regional championship remained glued in 104th position. They took a giant leap last December as they moved 24 places to finish the year in 104th position. Ethiopia who are representing the region in the Africa Cup of Nations kicking off in South Africa tomorrow remained stagnated on 110th position, while Sudan climbed up one place to 100th.

Tanzania fell out of the top 100 from the FIFA rankings in 2009 and has since struggled to come back. The nation's highest ranking by FIFA was 65th and that was in February 1995.As expected, there are very few changes to 2013's first edition of the FIFA World ranking, with football having come to a halt in many places over the New Year period.

Only 46 matches have been included in the ranking since December's instalment, 18 of which took place in 2012, with the remaining 28 being played in the first half of January 2013.There is no movement whatsoever in the top ten, with Spain still holding a comfortable lead over Germany and Argentina.

Further down, two teams are now in their highest-ever position, namely Ecuador, who have reaped the rewards of some outstanding performances in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifying to move up to 12th and Haiti, who are 38th on the back of their successful qualification for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2013.

Only two teams - Uzbekistan (56th, up 11) and Cuba (88th, up 12) - have climbed more than ten places since December.With Libya (47th, up 7) and Panama (46th, up 5) having replaced Tunisia (53rd, down 8) and Egypt (54th, down 13) in the top 50, the regional composition has changed slightly compared to last month, as CONCACAF now has one more team in the top 50 (4 teams) and CAF one less (7 teams).

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 14 February 2013.

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