Stars improve on FIFA ladder

Taifa Stars.

After posting a last-gasp 2-1 goals win over visiting New Zealand last month, Stars have leapfrogged to 12 places in the FIFA rankings ladder to stay at 97th.

This is Stars’ biggest rise in the world rankings since staying 89th in December 2007, courtesy of some flashes in the African Nations Cup qualifiers running to Ghana finals.

Stars had plunged deep to hit a terrible 109th position after disastrous loss of their friendly international against visiting DR Congo by 2-0 goals in May.

The penetration into the double digit figures has come as a big relief to their Brazilian coach Marcio Maximo, who has been under public criticism especially after axing some crowd favourite players from his line-up.

The team that bowed out of the 2010 African Nations/World Cup qualifiers running to Angola and South Africa respectively will need to play more international friendlies and win to improve further the rankings.

Besides competing in the inaugural African Nations Cup for domestic-based players that ended in Cote d’Ivoire in March, Stars have won only one friendly against New Zealand since beginning of the year.

Stars have always been struggling to secure international friendlies as most of the national FAs have shunned their approach on the basis of poor rankings.

Massive investments have been undertaken with a strong boost from corporate sponsorship in the likes of Serengeti Breweries and National Microfinance Bank, but the improvement on rankings has been at snail’s pace.

Since January 2008 Stars have been bubbling in triple figure digits while struggling to win matches against top rated teams in the likes of Cameroon and Ghana, both in friendly and qualifiers.

World rankings have also changed with Brazil displacing European champions Spain, especially after their recent FIFA Confederations Cup triumph in South Africa last weekend.

Spain are second to Brazil followed by Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Russia, England, Argentina, France and Croatia to conclude the world’s top ten line-up.

However, Uganda still commands a superb ranking among the East Africans staying at 75th despite an eight steps slip-up.

Cote d’Ivoire has replaced Cameroon in the African rankings to stay 18th overall in the world, having ascended 20 places.

Cameroon has slumped to eight places down the ladder to stay at 29th in the world and second best in the continent.

Third placed is Gabon on 30th beating Nigeria by four places and five to Ghana.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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