Nigeria’s Super Falcons dropped one step in the latest FIFA ranking for women’s national teams released on Friday. Despite qualifying for the 2019 World Cup holding in France and emerging African champions, the Nigerian ladies dropped one spot from 38 to 39.
In second place on the African ladder is Cameroon whose global ranking is 46. The Indomitable Lionesses climber three places to confirm that its performance at the just concluded African Women’s Cup of Nations(AFWCON) was no fluke. South Africa, runners-up at the(AFWCON) with a global ranking of 48 having climbed two places up, is third on the African ranking. Ghana’s Black Queens dropped two places to drop to the 50th spot on the world ranking and fourth in Africa.
From every indication, the final FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers have made their mark on the latest women’s ranking.
Continental championships in Asia, Oceania, and North, Central America and the Caribbean, plus play-off matches in Europe and the Americas, have applied the finishing touches to the pot allocation for the 24 World Cup-bound nations.
The USA will go into the draw as ranking leaders after strengthening their hold on top spot, while hosts France (3rd, up 1) have swapped places with England (4th, down 1). The Netherlands (7th, up 3) are the top 20’s biggest climbers, having gained ground – and reached a record points total – on the back of impressive play-off victories over both Denmark (17th, down 1) and Switzerland (18th, unchanged).
Further down the ranking, there are double-digit rises for both Jamaica (53rd, up 11) and Panama (54th, up 12), who have reached their highest-ever positions in the wake of storming to the Concacaf Women’s Championship semi-finals. The Jamaicans are now looking forward to their first Women’s World Cup draw, and while Panama missed out after losing to Argentina (36th, up 1) in an intercontinental play-off, they do at least have the honour of being this month’s biggest climbers.
There is consolation, too, for another couple of nations who suffered near misses in World Cup qualifying. Fiji (72nd, up 9) have soared on the back of their run to the OFC Women’s Nations Cup final, while Zambia (114th, up 2) have collected this month’s highest points total (66) after causing upsets against Equatorial Guinea (70th, down 16) and South Africa (48th, up 2) in the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Zambia would have climbed further still but for an influx of ten new teams, taking the total number to 152 – a new record for the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking.
SEE FULL RANKING BELOW: