Friday, July 15, 2016

Nigeria FIFA rankings fall yet again

Mixed reactions have trailed the latest world football governing body, FIFA’s rating of countries announced yesterday.

The Assistant Technical Director of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Coach Shiju Lagunju who spoke with Daily Trust said though FIFA uses verifiable indices to rate countries, the rating is of no effect on the performance of the teams.

“I don’t believe in it [the ranking], it doesn’t show the quality of our game,” he said.

“Does it really matter that Belgium, ranked 2nd was beaten by Wales? Does it really matter that Spain, ranked 8th was defeated by Italy or Brazil who are in the top ten, unable to make the knock out stage of COPA America?”

He insisted that one can only ascertain the strength of a team when the chips are down, expressing optimism that Nigeria will bounce back as the rebuilding process will soon start yielding results.

On his part, Head coach of the Nigeria Professional Football League side, Warri Wolves Mansur Abdullahi said Nigeria’s ranking was unfortunate, nothing that “It shows that Eagles are not improving.”

Also, the Chairman of the FCT chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Kayode Adeniyi who expressed dismay over the ranking, said it was being anticipated since the team did not play any match in recent times.

“What the stakeholders have been doing is to fight among themselves. Until we get our act together, we will continue to go down in subsequent rankings,” he submitted.

Similarly, a sports analyst Karlos Aondoaver Tsokar blamed the country’s current position on the inconsistency of the team.

“We have been very inconsistent in our performance in all international competitions. Without a coach for a while and those that we have managed to place in acting positions have not been able to properly assemble a team that would play with the passion, strength and agility our Super Eagles were known for.

“At a point, we were the most entertaining team in Africa, such that even if the results were abysmal as it is now, we were still rated well. But now it is different,” he lamented.

Another sports pundit, Modupe Oyewale expressed optimism that the team will bounce back, stressing that “We can only hope that things get better and that the Super Eagles bounce back to winning ways so that our ranking position can improve.”

Nigeria, yesterday dropped nine places in the latest world football governing body (FIFA)’s rating.

The Super Eagles were ranked 61st in June’s rating but have now dropped to be ranked 16th best team in Africa and 70th in the world.

Algeria, one of Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers opponents with 781 points, are the highest ranked team on the continent and 32nd in the world.

Cote d’Ivoire (35), Ghana (36), Senegal (41) and Egypt (43) completes the top five teams in Africa in that order.

Others in the top ten are: Tunisia (45), Cameroon (53), Morocco (54), Congo DR (59) and Mali (61) who occupied the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th positions respectively.

On the global stage, Euro 2016 surprise package Iceland rise to their highest ranking after reaching the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, moving up 12 places to 22nd.

The top five teams remained the same, with Argentina ranked first ahead of Belgium, Colombia, Germany and Chile.

Euro 2016 winners Portugal and defeated finalists France moved up two and 10 places respectively to sit sixth and seventh, with Spain, Brazil and Italy rounding off the top 10.

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