AFTERMATH OF FIFA RANKING
Strong indications emerged last night that the Super Eagles of Nigeria may have to thread on a tough path to reach the World Cup final tournament in Russia in 2018 following the position of the country in the latest ranking released by the World football body, FIFA.
Although the three-African champions had an improved six spots movement upward in the new ranking, the inability to be among the top five on the continent means Nigeria may likely not be in pot one during the draw ceremony later in the year.
Nigeria are now 61st in the world, but still very much outside the top five in Africa and number 12 on the continent.
The current top five on the continental ratings namely; Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and Egypt are likely to will enjoy a better chance of making Pot A of the draw on June 24 in Cairo, Egypt.
Meanwhile FIFA will next week announce the lucky five top seeds and it is unlikely that any of the current top five nations will lose out.
The climb up the FIFA rankings was as a result of the two wins the Super Eagles achieved against Mali and Luxembourg in the last one week ensured they amassed 559 points.
In Africa, they are placed behind Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Congo DR, Guinea, Cameroon and Congo.
After crashing out of AFCON 2017, Nigeria will be seeking to qualify for a sixth World Cup finals when the qualifying series for Russia 2018 begin in October.
The 20-teams still in the competition will be drawn into five groups of four teams each with the five overall group winners qualifying to represent Africa at the Mundial in the Siberian nation.
Meanwhile, Argentina and Belgium held firm to the first and second spot in the world while Austria returned to the top 10 with Euro 2016 hosts, France moving up four places to 17th in the world.
Slovakia and Madagascar were top movers. The Europeans climbed eight steps to the 24th place, while the Africans rose 29 places into the top 108.
The next world ranking will be published on 14 July 2016 with COPA America and EURO 2016 tournaments expected to play a prominent role in the next ranking list.