By MONICA IHEAKAM
Nigeria Super Eagles have moved up one place to 52nd position according to the latest FIFA Ranking which was released yesterday.
The upward movement is as a result of their 2-0 friendly victory over Niger Republic and a goalless draw with Tanzania in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier.
Interestingly, Nigeria’s opponents in the October friendlies, Cameroon and Congo, and the Eagles’ AFCON qualifying group rivals Egypt, were ranked seventh, eighth and ninth in Africa.
They, however, droped to 10th from a previous 9th in the Africa ranking while Algeria, 19th in the world, maintained her position as Africa’s top team.
Coted’ivoire, Ghana , Tunisia and Senegal made up the five top teams in Africa, while the likes of Cape Valde, Cameroon, Congo and Egypt were all ranked ahead of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Germany had reclaimed her top spot and trail leaders Argentina (1st, unchanged) by just 18 points. Belgium (3rd, down 1) completed the top three.
Other climbers in the top ten include Portugal (4th, up 2) and Spain (6th, up 5), while Colombia (5th, down 1) and Brazil (7th, down 2) have lost ground. Spain’s re-entry after three months is down to two wins in qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2016, while Wales (8th, up 1) and Austria (11th, up 2) have achieved their highest-ever rankings, with the latter having already qualified for next year’s tournament.
The biggest movers in the top 50 are Norway (34th, up 35) and Cape Verde Islands (41st, up 15). A number of teams outside the top 50 have also made big leaps, namely Liberia (95th, up 65), South Sudan (144th, up 54), Nicaragua (95th, up 44), the Central African Republic (126th, up 42), the Cook Islands (166th, up 39), Georgia (110th, up 37), American Samoa (164th, up 35), Samoa (162nd, up 34), Finland (64th, up 28), Mauritania (89th, up 25), Antigua and Barbuda (83rd, up 22), Aruba (115th, up 22) and Burundi (113th, up 21).
The results of 149 international ‘A’ matches have been taken into account in the October edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, of which 48 were World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF (12), Asia (30) and Oceania (6) zones, and 75 were qualifiers for confederation championships in Europe (50) and Africa (25). The other 26 matches were friendlies. This takes the total number of matches evaluated so far this year to 668.
By MONICA IHEAKAM