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Zebras drop closer to worst ever ranking

MQONDISI DUBE
The Zebras have slid to number 145 in the world PIC: KEAOGILE BONANG
The Zebras have fallen five places in the FIFA World rankings, slipping from number 140 to 145, as they move closer to their worst ever recorded ranking of 165.

The national side has seen a barren run persist, with the team without a win in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, stretching from June 2017.

In the period under review, Botswana lost 2-1 to Mauritania this month, after a defeat and a draw against Burkina Faso in October.

The Zebras’ worst ranking came in 1999 when they plunged to number 165. They are now only 20 places above that ranking, and with action coming in drips and drabs, the Zebras might find themselves even closer to their worst position when the next rankings are released in December.

In recent times, the Zebras fell to position 150 last year, due to inactivity and poor form.

In Africa, the Zebras are now into the bottom half, at number 41 out of 54 CAF member associations.

The Zebras best ranking was reached in 2010, number 53, which coincided with

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their best ever run, which culminated in a first ever qualification to the AFCON finals.

While the rankings have often been criticised as not being reflective of the actual strength (or weakness) of teams, the system plays a crucial role in draws for international assignments. A higher ranking usually attracts a kinder draw.

With the Zebras out of the AFCON qualifying race, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) is unlikely to organise friendly matches, particularly considering their tight budget. The Zebras’ next official assignment is a home date against Angola in the AFCON qualifiers next year March.

Zebras coach, David Bright has bemoaned the lack of support from his employers, with his future expected to be up for discussion at the end of qualifiers.

However, insiders say the BFA has made up its mind, and will soon be on the market, searching for Bright’s replacement.



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