Super eagles. PHOTO:The Independent
Even though Nigeria did not feature in the 2017 African Nations Cup, the Super Eagles moved up nine places to 41 in the latest world football ranking released by FIFA yesterday. But the team maintained its seventh spot in Africa.
Nigeria’s new position could be a result of the team’s victories against Zambia and Algeria in the 2018 World Cup qualifying series last year.
In total, 60 matches counted towards the latest ranking. The most significant changes for the February edition of the FIFA world ranking was rated on matches played at the just concluded 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which took place in Gabon. Cameroun’s victory at the tournament helped them climb 29 places into 33rd position, while Egypt’s silver-medal finish secured the team a place in the top 25 spot.
The Pharaohs (23, plus 12) are now the highest ranked CAF team despite their 2-1 defeat by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun at the finals of the 2017 prestigious Africa football showpiece.
AFCON semi-finalists Burkina Faso (38, plus 15) and Ghana (45, plus 9) also benefited, while quarter- finalists Congo DR (37, plus 12), Morocco (48, plus 9) and hosts Gabon (87, plus 21) also have cause to celebrate.
Super Eagles’ Group E opponents in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, South Africa (13), Libya (23) and Seychelles (51) all dropped in the latest ranking.
Bafana Bafana dropped 2 spots, Libya lost pace by 3 spots and little Indian Ocean Islands of Seychelles dropped by a spot in the ranking.