The latest standings reflect the latest action in a bruising international break for the likes of Nigeria, Kenya and Cape Verde
Fifa released their latest world rankings on Thursday, with various big climbers—and various high-profile fallers—among Africa’s major sides.
The latest standings reflects the recent international break, which saw some of the continent’s bigger sides slip up, and some of Africa’s fallen giants steadily return to prominence.
There was little surprise that Nigeria, following a bruising international break, have taken another hit in Fifa’s ranking of the world’s national sides.
The Super Eagles—now under the guidance of Samson Siasia following the departure of Sunday Oliseh earlier in the Cup of Nations qualifying campaign—were held to a late 1-1 draw against Egypt in Kaduna, before falling 1-0 to the Pharaohs in Alexandria.
With Chad withdrawing from the Afcon qualifying campaign, the loss in North Africa ends Nigeria’s hopes of featuring at the 2017 continental showpiece in Gabon, meaning they’ll miss out on appearing at Africa’s high table for the second consecutive tournament.
Samson Siasia & Sunday Oliseh
The testing international break also sees the Super Eagles tumble—somewhat predictably—down Fifa’s standings, and they find themselves below the likes of Uzbekistan, Jamaica and Panama.
In the latest rankings, Nigeria drop to 67th place in the world—falling five places—and down to 14th in Africa, one place ahead of South Africa.
It’s a dramatic decline for a nation who still hold Africa’s record for the highest-ever placement in the rankings, when their Golden Generation reached fifth spot exactly 22 years ago.
While Nigeria’s decline continues, however, Egypt appear to be continuing their revival after having followed up their trio of Afcon titles by missing out on the tournament for three competitions in a row.
In the latest standings, Egypt climb nine places and find themselves 44th in the world and fifth in the continent. Not only are the Pharaohs back on the brink of returning to the continental high table, but they also find themselves back in Africa’s top five.
Egypt’s Hector Cuper | A successful international break
Only Ghana and Senegal, as well as top two Algeria and the Cote d’Ivoire, are currently higher than Egypt in the rankings. The Pharaohs are firmly back on the comeback trail.
Algeria lost Christian Gourcuff, who stood down as head coach, during the international break, but remain Africa’s top side after thumping Ethiopia 7-1 and then drawing 3-3 with the Walias in Addis Ababa.
However, while the Fennecs remain Africa’s best-placed side, they remain 33rd in the world, and way below the globe’s top-ranked nations.
The news is a boost for Egypt ahead of the draw for the 2018 World Cup qualifying groups; Caf will distribute the 20 teams still alive in the competition into five groups of five, and by virtue of being in the continent’s top five, the Pharaohs are set to be seeded for the draw.
Cape Verde | Didn’t last long as Africa’s top-ranked side
Egypt have usurped Cape Verde in the continent’s top five following the latter’s home-and-away losses to Morocco in Afcon qualifying.
Both will surely have been disappointed to have been pooled together in qualification, but it’s Morocco who have become the first team to join hosts Gabon at the Afcon, while Cape Verde’s hopes of advancing to the tournament—even as two of the best second-placed sides—are in jeopardy.
The islanders fall a whopping 16 places, while Equatorial Guinea—who finished fourth on home soil last year—and Kenya, both of whom have failed to qualify for the tournament, are other big fallers, dropping seven and 12 places respectively.
Guinea-Bissau, who ended the Harambee Stars’ own Afcon hopes with home and away victories, are the continent’s biggest climbers, moving up a whopping 45 places to 102nd in the world.