FIFA on Thursday released the latest world football rankings, with very little change owing to the lack of interna- tional football in recent months with Nigeria’s Super Eagles dropping one spot from her ranking in November to end the year in the 50th position but still occupy the 8th spot on the African continent.
Senegal ended the year as the highest ranked African national team, edging Cup of Nations title-holders the Ivory Coast for top spot in the December listings.
Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco complete the top 10 compiled by world governing body FIFA.
All the countries except Nigeria will be among the 16 challengers for the Cup of Nations title when Gabon stages the 2017 tournament between January 14 and February 5.
Another four qualified teams – Mali, Cameroon, giantkillers Guinea-Bissau and Uganda – are among the top 20 ranked teams.
Gabon-bound Togo and Zimbabwe and the host nation fall outside the elite, but should not be underestimated when the biennial African Cup kicks off in Libreville.
A Senegal side packed with Europe-based professionals, including Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Keita Balde of Lazio, complet- ed their Cup of Nations qualifiers with a perfect six-win record.
But after a routine win over Cape Verde at the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, they fell 2-1 to South Africa, who scored from a penalty that should not have been awarded.
Rwanda was the biggest mover of the month, moving up nine places to 92nd.
Looking back over the year, Guinea-Bissau were the team with the greatest difference compared to their December 2015 ranking, moving up a total of 78 places to 68th in the global rankings.
MONTHLY AFRICAN RANKINGS RELEASED BY FIFA
1. Senegal (33)
2. Ivory Coast (34)
3. Tunisia (35)
4. Egypt (36)
5. Algeria (38)
6. Democratic Republic of Congo (48)
7. Burkina Faso (50)
8. Nigeria (51)
9. Ghana (53)
10. Morocco (57)
11. Mali (60)