Nigeria’s Super Eagles dropped six places to 44 spot in the September FIFA rankings released Thursday despite the heavy defeat handed out to Cameroon in Uyo and one-all draw in Yaounde four days later in the World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
The three-time African champions however swapped places with the Indomitable Lions in the continental grading with Nigeria now in the fifth position.
It appears the victory recorded by the home-based Eagles against Benin Republic in the sub-regional WAFU Cup of Nations qualifiers count little in the final grading for September. Nigeria’s total point haul depreciated from 716 to 696.
Nigeria’s only rival to next year’s World Cup, the Chipolopolo of Zambia, are still a lowly 78th in the world and 16th in Africa. Both teams have an October 7 date in Uyo that may determine which country grabs the Group B ticket to Russia 2018.
Nigeria with 10 points from four matches is three points ahead of second-placed Zambia.
At the top of African rankings is the Pharaohs of Egypt with fellow north Africans Tunisia in the second spot. Senegal is fourth with Burkina Faso (7th), Ghana (8th), Cote d’ Ivoire (9th) and Morocco completing the Top Ten power houses of African football.
Globally, World champions Germany pushed Brazil back into second place to return to the top of the FIFA rankings.
Germany’s 2-1 win away to the Czech Republic and their 6-0 drubbing of Norway in the World Cup qualifiers lifted them over the already-qualified Brazil, who dropped points in a draw away to Colombia.
European champions Portugal climbed three places to third – even though they are second in their World Cup qualifying group behind Switzerland.
In another surprise, Argentina is fourth in the rankings despite struggling to qualify for the World Cup after drawing its last two games – away to Uruguay and at home to Venezuela.
The rankings made disappointing reading for Asia with only three sides in the top 50 – Iran, Japan and Australia.
The next FIFA rankings will be announced on October 16 and used to determine the seedings in the draw for the four European playoff ties for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.