By Bushrah Yusuf-Badmus
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have dropped by one spot in the January Ranking by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) to now occupy the 36th position in the world.
In the ranking table released by the world football governing body on Thursday, the Nigerian team retained the 1474 points it had in the month of December.
The ranking which is the first in 2021 saw Nigeria retaining it’s fifth spot on the continent behind Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco respectively.
On the global scene, a total of 43 full internationals (including one played in December 2020) were taken into account.
The standout tournament in recent weeks has been the African Nations Championship (CHAN), where a total of 32 games took place.
These fixtures as well as the other 11 games played have been classified as friendlies, because only players competing in the national championships of the participating countries are eligible to take part in the CHAN.
In the standings, CHAN winners Morocco (33rd, +2), and runners-up Mali (54th, +3) have made the most progress.
Third-placed Guinea (72nd, +1) and quarter-finalists Congo (90th, +1) have also advanced.
Other teams moving in the right direction include Costa Rica (50th,+1), currently back in the Top 50 after an absence of several months, Cape Verde (80th, +1), Oman (81st, +1), Benin (82nd, +1), Azerbaijan (108th, +1), Estonia (108th, +1), Thailand (110th, +1), Guinea-Bissau (119th, +1), Tajikistan (120th, +1) and Guatemala (130th, +1).
Those teams aside, no other country has enhanced its position since December, and the Top 32 places in the standings remain unchanged since the end of 2020.
Belgium, France, Brazil, England and Portugal continue to occupy the top spots, with the leading trio of Belgium, France and Brazil only separated by 37 points.
The fight for top spot promises to be an exciting one this year with a string of major tournaments scheduled (Copa America, UEFA EURO and CONCACAF Gold Cup) as well as the resumption of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. (NAN)