Despite early exit from the Rwanda 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN), Nigeria gained three steps up the ladder in the latest world football rankings released by FIFA early Thursday.
Nigeria, who remained static going into the New Year from December, 2015 to January this year on number 66, rose to number 63 in the February rankings.
The rise in the world rankings also affected the Super Eagles’ rating on the African continent as they have moved from number 14 from January rankings to number 12 in the lastest rankings.
On the African continent, Cape Verde Islands’ fortunes continue to rise as the country gained six steps to move to number two in Africa and 33 in the world.
This was a big leap from the fourth position they were last month, dislodging the likes of Algeria and Ghana.
Ivory Coast are still the leading team in Top 10 in Africa despite losing nine steps in the world ranking to number 28.
They were followed by Cape Verde Islands, Algeria (36 in the world), Ghana (41), Senegal (45), Tunisia (48), Congo (54), Egypt (55), Congo DR (57) and Guinea (57).
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions are on number 11th in Africa and number 62 in the world.
Meanwhile, with the current 20 best-ranked teams yet to play an A-game in 2016, the top 18 positions remain unchanged for the February edition of the rankings.
According to fifa.com, Belgium, Argentina and Spain hold their increasingly familiar top three slots while Hungary (19, plus 1) and Turkey (20, plus 1) enter the top 20 thanks to Ivory Coast’s exit (28, minus 9).
Hungary’s small leap comes with a massive celebration; Hungary have reached their best ever position since the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings was introduced in 1993.
This month, Scotland (46, plus 6) and Norway (50, plus 4) return to the top 50, strengthening UEFA’s presence in the regional composition of the top 50. UEFA now enjoys representation from 31 of the top 50 teams.
Africa lost two teams this month from the top 50, bringing the new total to six, while the representation of the other confederations in the top 50 has not changed for the February rankings (CONMEBOL: 8; CONCACAF: 4; AFC: 1; OFC: 0).
The three most impressive teams for February’s rankings all come from Asia: Palestine (110, plus 21), Saudi Arabia (55, plus 20) and Korea DPR (95, plus 18) enjoyed the biggest advances since the last world rankings.
Teams from Asia, Africa and Central America dominated the list of teams that improved by more than five positions for February, namely: Cape Verde Islands (33, plus 6), Costa Rica (31, plus 6) , Qatar (78, plus 6), Honduras (91, plus 7), Mozambique (102, plus 7), Belize (120, plus 8), Swaziland (127, plus 6), Kuwait (133, plus 8), and Nepal (188, plus 8).
A special mention goes to Rwanda (85, plus 6) in the latest rankings. The Wasps won three of their six matches played since early January, while also closing out 2015 with a shock-upset over African heavyweights Ivory Coast in an international friendly played on 16 December, 2015.
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World rankings will be published on 3 March 2016.
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