Nigeria slid down six places in the latest
FIFA World Ranking to 44th position but climbed a spot above Cameroon to fifth in the continental rankings.
Nigeria impressed in their last two World Cup qualifying matches against Cameroon in Uyo and Yaounde but that has amounted to nothing in the latest Fifa rankings released on Thursday morning.
Despite a win against Cameroon In Uyo and a point earned Yaounde from the African champions who were a spot above Nigeria, the latter’s progress was surprisingly minimal.
In the last ranking released on 10 August, Nigeria was ranked 38 in the world but look to have been hit after losing 1-0 to Benin Republic before winning 2-0 in Kano in an African Nations Championship qualifier.
The ratification of the CHAN tournament as a FIFA recognized competition ensured Nigeria’s results against Benin were also taken into consideration.
Egypt are still the best ranked team in Africa, followed by Tunisia, Senegal and Congo DR.
Our rivals to book a ticket to the 2018 World Cup, Algeria and Zambia, are placed 62nd and 78th respectively in the global ranking.
The Chipolopolo notably moved up 18 places but are still outside the top 10 (16th) in Africa.
Zambia whom Nigeria play next in Uyo on October 7 will be bouyed by this development after also beating Algeria in Ndola and Algiers in the last international break.
Germany and Brazil continue their tug of war at the top with the former now the best ranked nation having displaced Brazil. Portugal, Argentina and Belgium complete the top five.
The next World Ranking will be published on 16 October 2017.
Africa’s Top 20 Teams
4) Congo DR
7) Burkina Faso
9) Ivory Coast
13) Cape Verde
18) South Africa
Mikel: Zambia Is In Good Spirit But It’s Time To Wrap It Up
Super Eagles skipper, Mikel Obi is not getting carried away by Nigeria being tipped the favourites to outclass Zambia.
The Tianjin Teda midfielder, John Obi Mikel is not underating the Zambians and has dismissed their Underdog Tag.
Serious Task Ahead
Mikel, knowing what is astake, has however given an insight of what the Super Eagles will do come next week Saturday.
Having defeated Algeria home and away, Mikel believes the Super Eagles will have to take Zambia seriously.
But he is confident Nigeria will grab the the ticket to the World Cup in Russia with a victory.
”I must admit that I applaud the resurgence of the Zambians this late in the qualifiers.
Beating Algeria home and away is no mean feat,” Mikel told thenff.com.
”We will take them very serious on 7th October because they clearly have a new spirit. It is time we wrap this up.”
In conclusion, the former Chelsea ace heaped praise on his teammates and the technical crew.
He explained that the Super Eagles’ imminent World Cup qualification is due to the crew’s hardwork and positive approach.
Mikel added : ”We have all shown professionalism, dedication and determination to be at the pole position in a group tagged ‘Group of Death.’
“Commendations must go to the entire team and the Coach, but we must finish it up in Uyo and secure our ticket right there.”
Bondo To Decide Nigeria Versus Zambia Affair
39-year old Bostwana referee, Joshua Bondo will take charge of proceedings of Nigeria’s match against Zambia.
Bondo who has been an international referee for the past 10 years will take charge of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Uyo next week Saturday.
FIFA has chosen Bondo alongside his countrymen, Oamogetse Godisamang, 40, and Tirelo Mositwane, 30, to rule over the game.
Godisamang, an international assistant referee since year 2010 will serve as Assistant Referee 1, while Tirelo Mositwane, an international referee since 2013 will serve as Fourth Official.
Souru Phatsoane from Lesotho will be the Assistant Referee 2 for the October 7 showdown.
South Africa’s Mr. Carlos Manuel Neves Henriques will be the Referee Assessor while Sudanese Osama Hassan Ataaelmanan is the match commissioner.
Hassan was also the Match Commissioner for the game between Nigeria and Cameroon in Yaounde on September 4.
Battle Of Champions
A win in Uyo will see three –time African champions, Nigeria seal a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance in Russia.
2012 Africa Cup of Nations winners, Zambia, will face the champions of the 2013, Nigeria, on October 7.
The make-or-break game will Kick –off at 5pm at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
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