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FIFA ranking statistics from a Nigerian (and African) perspective

The latest ranking from the world's football governing body replicated its top ten teams from last month's edition but indicated a drop in the performance of some top African teams.

Super Eagles

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), on Thursday, published the February edition of the men's (monthly) world ranking.

From a Nigerian perspective, however, there was an upward movement. The Super Eagles climbed three places to 63rd in the world and are now 12th in Africa.

This is the first time Nigeria has risen in the world ranking since October, 2015 (when the Super Eagles climbed one spot to 52nd).

In addition, the three places climbed in the current ranking is Nigeria's biggest upward movement since August 2015 (when the Super Eagles climbed four places to 53rd).

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Notwithstanding, this latest improvement provides meagre gratification especially on the evidence of Nigeria's inability to, at least, break into Africa's top ten- an unattractive status the Super Eagles have endured since November, 2015.

Meanwhile, Nigeria's next opponent in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Egypt, also moved up three places to 55th in the world and 7th in Africa.

Cote d'Ivoire are still Africa's best! They are followed by Cape Verde who replaced Algeria (who are third) in second place on the continent. Senegal and Tunisia complete the top five in Africa.

But let's go beyond the superficial, thus scooping out some interesting details from the latest ranking.

With more focus on teams within the top 100 places, we shall take a statistical look at the performance of African countries in the latest world ranking.

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Top 100

There are 24 African countries within the top one hundred places in the latest world ranking - only Europe has more (41). However, the current number of African countries in the top 100 positions is slightly (4 per cent) inferior to that in January's edition of the ranking which had 25 African nations.

Also, among the 24 African countries in the current top 100, only 6 of them made it into the top 50, representing a 25 per cent decrease compared with last month's rankings.

More so, if the top 100 places in the latest ranking are split into intervals of 10 (i.e 1st-10th, 11th-20th, etc), it implies that more African countries (6) are located between the 61st to 70th spots than at any other interval within the top 100.

Movements Within The Top 100

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23 African teams in the top 100 changed position in the latest world ranking with only Senegal remaining unmoved from the previous ranking in 45th place.

In all,  a total of 11 African countries within the top 100 recorded upward movements while 12 of them dropped.

Biggest Moves

The biggest movers from Africa within the top 100 in the world ranking are Cape Verde and Rwanda, both of whom climbed 6 spots to settle on 33rd and 85th respectively.

Equatorial Guinea recorded the second highest move, climbing 5 places onto 64th while Burkina Faso improved 4 places to 85th (level on points with Rwanda) to record the third biggest move by an African nation in the top 100.

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However, outside the top 100, the biggest mover (in the entire African continent) is Mozambique who ascended 7 places to 102nd in the world.

Biggest Drop

Within the top 100 places in the world ranking, semi-finalists at the on-going 2016 African Nations Championship, Guinea, suffered the biggest drop. The Syli Nationale fell 12 places to 61st in the world.

Cote d'Ivoire and Zambia come next, dropping 9 places each to 28th and 76th respectively while Algeria, Ghana, Tunisia and Uganda dropped 8 places each.

Meanwhile, in the entire African continent (and in the world), Libya drop the furthest in the latest ranking, falling a massive 24 places to 105th. The Libyans are closely followed by Zimbabwe in terms of biggest drops. The Warriors [of Zimbabwe] fell 23 spots to 131st in the world.

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Moves In and Out of the Top 100

Kenya is the only African country that moved into the top 100 in the latest world ranking. The Harambee Stars climbed 2 places to 99th position.

Meanwhile, Libya and Togo were the African teams that exited the top 100. The former dropped to 105th from 81st (24 places as aforementioned) while the latter dropped 10 places onto 103rd.

WHAT NEXT?

The next FIFA ranking will be published on 3rd March 2016. Given the absence of international match dates for February on the FIFA calendar, there may not be many changes in the March edition of the ranking. Nonetheless, the ranking will still be anticipated.

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