What a month it’s been for the Lions of Teranga! They secured a first return to the World Cup since 2002 with their victory over South Africa, and also moved up to top spot in Caf’s ranking after becoming Africa’s highest-placed team in the overall standings. Indeed, Senegal’s double triumph over Bafana Bafana saw them climb to 23rd in the world, their highest-ever position. Soon, the question of whether this is the best Senegal team in history may become more pressing.
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Despite a fine qualification campaign in which they cruised through the Group of Death to reach Russia with a game to spare, the Super Eagles drop in the rankings. They may have held Algeria and beaten mighty Argentina 4-2, but climbers elsewhere means the West African giants drop nine places. They’ll head into the World Cup draw 50th in the world, and eighth in Africa—below non-qualifiers such as Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Winners: Burkina Faso
They may have fallen short in World Cup qualifying, but Burkina Faso’s 4-0 demolition of Cape Verde in mid-November has helped them significantly in the Fifa World Rankings. They’ve gone up a whopping 11 places this month—making them Africa’s biggest climbers—and find themselves 44th in the world and sixth in the continent. They may be watching on from the outside next summer, but be under no illusion, the Stallions’ are one of the continent’s emerging forces.
Sadly, none of the plaudits that apply for Burkina Faso can be applied to Chad, who are Africa’s biggest fallers in this latest edition of the Fifa rankings. Things were already bleak for Les Sao after they were banned for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign following their withdrawal from the 2017 programme, and as they continue their inactivity, expect their slump to extend. They’ve dropped 12 places to 168th in the overall ranking—between Moldova and St. Vincent and the Grenadines—having been up in 114th as recently as 2015.
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After Senegal, Burkina Faso, Namibia and Libya, Morocco are Africa’s biggest climbers. They move into Africa’s top five and 40th place overall after climbing eight places this month. The Atlas Lions aren’t even flattered by a spot between Australia—one of the teams who join them in Pot 4 for the World Cup draw—and Romania, following significant on-field progress under Herve Renard. Don’t be surprised if the North African heavyweights climb even higher over the coming months as they aim for the all-time high spot they achieved in 1998.