This Day Lagos
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

Nigeria has dropped one place in the latest December rankings released by the world football governing body, FIFA yesterday. The Super Eagles are now placed eighth in Africa and 51st in the world after 616 ranking points.

It means that Nigeria will finish 2016 as one of Africa’s top 10 national sides despite its failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations which will take place in Gabon.

Nigeria’s best placing in the month FIFA rankings was fifth, a position attained in 1994 following an impressive display at its debut World Cup appearance that year in the United States.

Meanwhile, Senegal ended the year as the highest ranked African national team, edging Cup of Nations title-holders the Ivory Coast for top spot.

Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco complete the top 10 compiled by FIFA.

All the countries except Nigeria will be among the 16 challengers for the Cup of Nations title when Gabon stages the 2017 tournament between January 14 and February 5.

Another four qualified teams – Mali, Cameroon, giant-killers Guinea-Bissau and Uganda – are among the top 20 ranked teams.

Gabon-bound Togo and Zimbabwe and the host nation fall outside the elite, but should not be underestimated when the biennial African Cup kicks off in Libreville.

A Senegal side packed with Europe-based professionals, including Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Keita Balde of Lazio, completed their Cup of Nations qualifiers with a perfect six-win record.

But after a routine win over Cape Verde at the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, they fell 2-1 to South Africa, who scored from a penalty that should not have been awarded.

Brazil, Germany, Chile and Belgium make up the top four in descending order

AFRICA’S TOP TEN

(World ranking in brackets)

1. Senegal (33)

2. Ivory Coast (34)

3. Tunisia (35)

4. Egypt (36)

5. Algeria (38)

6. DR Congo (48)

7. Burkina Faso (50)

8. Nigeria (51)

9. Ghana (53)

10. Morocco (57)