By John Egbokhan
Egypt and Gabon have overtaken Nigeriaâ€™s Super Eagles in the latest FIFA ranking, released yesterday, which has Confederations Cup champions, Brazil, remaining top of the pack while Cote dâ€™Ivoire are the highest ranked African team in the world.
The ranking is based on teamâ€™s performance in matches and judging from their spectacular outing at the last FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, the samba boys from Brazil, have consolidated their firm grip on the top spot, by amassing 1642 points, while reigning European champions, Spain, trail the south Americans in second place, with 1590 points.
Unlike Nigeria, who are in the 34th spot, and have not played any match since their last World Cup qualifier against Tunisia in Tunis, and whose coach, Shuaibu Amodu has ruled out playing any friendly match, in ahead of next monthâ€™s return leg match against Tunisia in Abuja, the likes of Brazil can only continue to wax stronger on the ranking table.
While Nigeria, and are losing ground to other countries like Gabon and Egypt, the Ivorians are waxing strong as they are the only African side in the top 20, raking in 874 points in the month under review and are set to gain more grounds if they do well in their scheduled friendly match, at the start of the new European soccer season.
Cameroonâ€™s Indomitable Lions are the second highest ranked African team on the log, polling 803 points, 14 points more than 2010 World Cup qualifying surprise package, Gabon, whose 789 points helped them to stave off up a strong challenge from reigning African Nations Cup winners, Egypt.
Ghanaâ€™s Black Stars, who have maintained a perfect run in the 2010 qualifying, are breathing down the neck of the Nigerians, as they are only one point behind Nigeria. Nigeria have 772 points to Ghanaâ€™s 772 while Tunisia, Nigeriaâ€™s next opponent in the World Cup campaign, are in the 49th spot.