Nigerians expressed their shock when the recent FIFA ranking showed that the Super Eagles had been demoted despite impressive wins. This analysis tries to explain why they went down by 9 steps.
Just days after beating Argentina, a two-time World Cup champion, the world football body, FIFA, came out with its latest ranking – demoting Nigeria from fifth in Africa to eighth. Nigeria also slipped nine places down the world ranking to 50th spot.
Ironically, countries like Cameroon and Burkina Faso, who did not qualify for the World Cup, leaped over the Eagles. Morocco’s climb, however, can be justified because they qualified for the World Cup without conceding a single goal in their group.
But to put the FIFA logic in better perspective – in 2017, Nigeria played 17 games [both home-based and main team] and lost just three games. The home-based Eagles lost to Benin 1-0 in a CHAN qualifier and 4-1 to Ghana in the WAFU Cup final. The main team lost 2-0 to South Africa in a Nations Cup qualifier.
But for FIFA, the rules of their ranking never changes; which is why Italy, which failed to qualify for the World Cup, is now better ranked than England, which qualified without losing a match.
FIFA’S ranking formula is P = M x I x T x C
And the compounding rule states, “The number of points that can be won in a match depends on the following factors:
• Was the match won or drawn? (M)
• How important was the match (ranging from a friendly match to a FIFA World Cup match)? (I)
• How strong was the opposing team in terms of ranking position and the confederation to which they belong? (T and C)
These factors are brought together in the following formula to ascertain the total number of points (P).”
Between October 16, when Nigeria was ranked fifth in Africa and 41 in the world with 721 points, and November 23 when the Eagles were demoted to eighth in Africa and 50th in the world, what happened?
Nigeria played only two matches between October 16 and November 23:
10 November WCQ Algeria 1–1 Nigeria
14 Nov 2017 Friendly Nigeria 4-2 Argentina
Looking at the snapshot above, one sees results of matches from November 2013 and wonders: what does that have to do with today’s demotion?
Well, you just need to ask FIFA and here is the answer.
“A team’s total number of points over a four-year period is determined by adding:
the average number of points gained from matches during the past 12 months; and
the average number of points gained from matches older than 12 months (depreciates yearly).”
So, the present ranking of the Super Eagles was not dependent on, ”just that draw in Algeria and the win over Argentina.” It was also determined by the draw to Italy and loss to Jordan in November 2013.
But if you are still wondering – we all just have to understand that not all laws make sense and since we cannot get into the mind of the person or persons that formulated this – we just have to abide with it.
It is called FIFA ranking, so they make the laws that govern it. Be happy, no matter the current ranking of the Super Eagles – you will see them in Russia next year.