Nigerians are asking questions following the release of the November

In November, the Super Eagles of Nigeria played two games; a 1-1 draw away at Algeria in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the friendly 4-2 win over Argentina.

Despite these impressive outings, Nigeria still dropped nine places in the latest FIFA Ranking. It gets even more confusing that countries like Cameroon who failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup are ranked ahead of Nigeria

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So how is this FIFA Ranking calculated?

FIFA calculate the Ranking in two ways, single match and total number of points over a four-year period.

Calculation of points for a single match

To calculate points for a single match, this formula is used. P = M x I x T x C.

P is for the point

M determines if the match was won, drawn or lost

Teams gain three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss.

I is the importance of the match

A friendly match including small competitions= 1.0

FIFA World Cup or AFCON qualifier= 2.5

AFCON or FIFA Confederations Cup: 3.0

FIFA World Cup= 4.0

T is how strong the opposition is and their position on the FIFA Ranking

The strength of the opponents is based on the formula: 200 – the ranking position of the opponents.

However, the team at the top of the ranking is always assigned the value 200 and the teams ranked 150th and below are assigned a minimum value of 50. The ranking position is taken from the opponents’ ranking in the most recently published FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

And C the confederation.

For games between two countries from different confederations, the mean value of the confederations to which the two competing teams belong is used.

This value is calculated on the basis of the number of wins by that confederation at the last three FIFA World Cup competitions


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And this is where it starts getting difficult.

The total number of points over a four-year period is also used in determining the FIFA Ranking and this is why the impressive win against Argentina who are in top 10 in world football has not improved Nigeria’s FIFA Ranking.

According to a document provided by Giovanni Marti who is the FIFA Media Relations Manager to veteran Nigerian sports journalist Kunle Solaja, the ranking is not based solely on current results, older results also have impact on recent scores.

“It’s simply an accumulated depreciation over the past years…meaning that as some matches grew older, they are devalued according to a calculating scheme,” Marti explained to Solaja in 2013.

On their website, FIFA clearly states that a team’s total number of points over a four-year period is determined by adding: the average number of points gained from matches during the past 12 months; and the average number of points gained from matches older than 12 months (depreciates yearly).


It is now clear why the draw away at Algeria and the win against Argentina in a friendly game did not improve the FIFA Ranking of the Super Eagles.

With this method of calculations, it should be noted that Super Eagles November FIFA Ranking is as a result of games played since 2014.

In these years, Nigeria have failed to qualify for the two Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and played very few friendly games against top oppositions.