Zebras have moved one step up in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings despite being inactive since the beginning of the year.
The latest rankings released yesterday show that Zebras are now ranked 105 in the world. The national soccer team’s last match was away to Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier last year where they lost 3-0. They have been inactive ever since the game with the focus having been in the local league and the just ended Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The continental showpiece, which was won by Ivory Coast, has had an impact on the latest rankings and saw the hosts, Equatorial Guinea move up 69 places. They are now ranked 49th in the world after finishing fourth in the tournament. They have reached the top 50 for the first time since the introduction of the global ladder.
Algeria remains the highest ranked team in Africa despite their disappointing showing at the continental tournament. They are still ranked number 18 in the world.
Côte d’Ivoire (20th, up eight) who edged Ghana (25th, up 12) on penalties in the final moved eight places up. Ghana are ranked 25th in the world after moving 12 places up while Congo DR moved 11 places up to position 46.
Congo (49th, up 12) have also profited from their performances in the tournament to ascend 12 rungs. Meanwhile new Asian champions, Australia (63rd, up 37), beaten finalists Korea Republic (54th, up 15), United Arab Emirates (66th, up 14), Iraq (94th, up 20), China PR (82nd, up 14) and Iran (41st, up 10) have all climbed at least 10 places.
Iran’s rise meant that Asia once again has a team in the top 50.
In addition to the above climbers, the following teams have risen more than 10 places: Pakistan (171st, up 17), Mauritania (123rd, up 15) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (110th, up 11). The latter two have benefited from a devaluation of past results, while Pakistan won a friendly against Afghanistan recently.
Costa Rica (13th, up three) have also reached their highest-ever position following a devaluation of past results. The progress made by Asian and African teams was also reflected in the composition of the top 50. As already mentioned, the AFC is represented by one team, while CAF has increased its quota by one to 12 and UEFA has to make do with 28, a fall of two.
CONMEBOL (six), CONCACAF (three) and the OFC (0) have the same number of teams in the top 50 as at January. (Additional reporting by FIFA)