Tanzania drops in FIFA rankings

TANZANIA has nose-dived down the world football rankings by four slots to rest at 112th position according to the latest release issued on Wednesday by FIFA in Zurich.

The national football team, Taifa Stars, played one international friendly against Brazil, with the Samba stars winning by a flattering 5-1 scoreline, a month before the latest FIFA Coca Cola World ranking was released.

The results of the historic encounter staged at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, was taken into consideration in ranking the two teams. Brazil earned two points while hosts Taifa Stars scored zero points.

Tanzania fell out of the top 100 from the FIFA rankings in 2009 and has since struggled to come back. After closing the year a the 106th position, Taifa Stars droped to 108th in January and February, and slipped further to 109th in March.

The team returned to 108th in April and held same position in May. Tanzania’s highest ranking by FIFA was 65th and that was in February 1995. Unimpressive ranking in recent month is provably a raw challenge for new Taifa Stars coach Danish Jan Borge
Poulsen as he readies to step on shoes left by his predecessor Marcio Maximo of Brazil.

With East African compatriots, Uganda and minnows Malawi flying high in 70th and 74th positions respectively, Poulsen’s immediate task if he is to be worth his salt would be to improve Tanzania’s world ranking. The Danish is expected to report for duty on August 1 ready for the 2012 African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifiers.

Tanzania will face Algeria in their qualifying group for the 2012 African Nations Cup with the North African giants hosting Poulsen’s team between in the first week of September. In order to qualify for Afcon 2012 Tanzania will also take on Morocco, ranked 82nd in the world, Central African Republic ranked 202 out of 203 member countries.

Meanwhile World champions Spain returned to the top of the FIFA rankings while Brazil dropped to third place as Italy slumped to 11th. World Cup finalists the Netherlands also leap frogged Brazil for second place, a rise of two places, while England surprisingly moved up a rung to seventh despite a disappointing tournament in South Africa.

Semifinalists Uruguay were big gainers, up 10 places to sixth, while 1998 champions France capped a pitiful performance by slipping 12 to 21st. Ageing Italy, the 2006 World Cup winners, dropped six slots. Germany and Argentina both moved up two places to fourth and fifth respectively.

New Zealand were the biggest movers up the rankings, rising 24 places to 54th after going unbeaten in their three group matches at the World Cup. World Cup hosts South Africa raised up 17 massive slots to 66th. African champions, Egypt, maintained their status as the highest ranking African team, storming into ninth position from 11th they held in the previous edition.

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