Nigeria has moved a step higher, back to being 42nd best in the FIFA ranking following the latest release by the world football governing body on Thursday.
The nation’s football ranking had slipped to 43rd in January in continuation of a downward movement, which began from late last year, following a poor showing in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and inability to qualify for AFCON 2015. They had moved down four places to 37th in September before dipping five places further to 42nd in October.
The new ranking means Nigeria are now seventh in Africa behind Algeria (18th), Ivory Coast (20th), Ghana (25th), Tunisia (26th), Cape Verde (35th) and Senegal (36th). Guinea (43rd) are eighth in Africa after dropping four places, and Cameroon, which also dropped three places to 45th, are ninth in the CAF category.
Congo DR (46th) and Congo (49th) are 10th and 11th in Africa after moving up 11 and 12 places respectively. In a slight reprieve, of teams in the CAF top 14, only Nigeria did not feature in the 2015 AFCON.
According to FIFA, the AFC Asian Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations accounted for most movements in the latest ranking, despite the top 10 remaining unchanged.
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 means that Asia once again has a team in the top 50.
Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium and the Netherlands occupy the top five, but former world champions Spain stay at 10th.