As a result of the two successes recorded by the Super Eagles against Tanzania and Zambia, Nigeria has climbed four spots to 60th position on the latest FIFA Rankings for the month of October released yesterday by the world football governing body.
In the African ranking, Nigeria is listed as 11th, just a place outside the top 10.
To achieve this under new Franco-German coach, Gernot Rohr, Eagles defeated Tanzania 1-0 in a dead rubber last African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2017) qualifier in Uyo.
Eagles also kick-started their 2018 World Cup qualifier by upstaging hosts Zambia 2-1 in Ndola.
However, Nigeria’s World Cup rivals Algeria, who they will welcome to Uyo on November 12, stay put in 35th position in the world, but slip to third in Africa behind Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.
Another Russia 2018 foe, Cameroun, remains at 59th in the global ranking, while Zambia dropped two spots to 94th.
Meanwhile, Coach Rohr, has gone tough, insisting he will no longer call up players he describes as “vacation players” because they have failed to fight for first-team places after two invitations.
“Some players have been invited for two matches but have yet to push for a place in the first team and now we wish to invite fresh players to do what they could not do,” Rohr said.
“The time is gone when a player comes for two matches, collects bonuses, allowances and ticket refund and does not measure up.
“What we need now are players who can fight for first-team shirts and so make the team more competitive.”
The likes of Israel-based midfielder Nosa Igiebor, Kingsley Madu from Zulte-Waregem of Belgium, Rangers goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel and Jamiu Alimi from Kano Pillars could fall into this bracket of “vacation players”.
In the global rankings, Germany and Brazil moved into second and third spots respectively.
A pair of wins for the current world champions, who saw off Czech Republic and Northern Ireland – just two of the 129 games played worldwide – means they have trimmed Argentina’s lead to just 156 points.
Belgium (4th) slipped out of the top three for the first time since March 2015, with Colombia slipping to fifth (down 1), while defeated UEFA EURO 2016 finalists France have leap-frogged European champions Portugal (8th) into seventh.
Spain return to the top ten, while fellow Europeans Poland (15th), Iceland (21st) and Kosovo (164th) have moved up to their highest-ever placings.