The latest FIFA ranking has once again left mouths of Nigerian soccer followers wide open in disbelief. They still can’t fathom why the Super Eagles should be making southward slide in spite of their outings in recent times.
The Super Eagles dropped four spots on the Fifa ranking to finish in 35th place in the new listing released on Thursday.
Shouts of ‘f-o-u-l’ are loud enough for all to hear. Has Fifa been fair to Nigeria in this monthly ranking? What justifications does the world football ruling body have for rating Mali and Algeria above Nigeria? Did Nigeria not in the period under review humiliate Tahiti at the Fifa Confederations Cup? Did they not also beat Kenya in Nairobi, and get a draw away at Namibia in the world cup qualifiers?
Even as the confusion continues to reign former Nigeria coach Adegboye Onigbinde, a member of Caf and Fifa technical committees, reveals to Goal the yardstick for the listing.
“It’s a cumulative assessment of the team's performance over a period of time. It’s also determined by the level of competition and the friendly matches played. If you beat Brazil and Argentina last month, but in subsequent matches defeat Uganda, Zimbabwe and Malawi, are you moving forward or backward,” Onigbinde asked.
Reacting to claims that Nigeria ought to have moved upward based on their Confederations Cup outing,he further enlightened that participation in competition is just a part of many criteria taken into consideration.
“Not only competitions but friendly matches. Can you tell me how many friendly matches they played and against who? Playing of friendlies are of various levels too. We have Grade A, Grade B and so on and so forth. Nigerians should not think about the competitions the Super Eagles took part in, what of the friendly matches they played and the level of development in the country?,” concluded the season football technocrat.