MZUZU--We saw it coming and here we are. If the Malawi national team thought thqat despite being inactive they would keep soaring higher and higher on the Fifa/Coca-Cola rankings even after losing 2-3 to Chad in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier over a month ago, this time they have been put where they really belong—way below the ladder at 102 in the world!
In last month’s rankings, released on March 7, the Flames made a dramatic three-step rise to position 96 as in February they also rose one step from 99 to 98.
But in this month’s world rankings released on Wednesday, Malawi came tumbling down six places from 96thposition to 102 and climbed down two places from 21 last month to number 23 this month in Africa and 4thin the Cosafa region.
The downward trend for the Flames may continue as long as they do not make the best of Fifa-sanctioned dates to play friendly matches and remain active ahead of competitive world, continental and regional tournaments.
But coach Kinnah Phiri said yesterday things will soon improve when the Flames start playing in June, saying the drop on Fifa rankings will motivate the team to fight harder to gain a respectful position.
While things don’t seem to be looking up for Malawi, neighbours Zambia aka the Copper Bullets (Chipolopolo), who were 41st in the world last month, have climbed a rung up to position 40.
In February, the Zambians shot their way up 28 times from 71 to an enviable 43 spot in the world for the first time since 2001 after going all the way to finally shock Africa’s number one football team and Africa Cup of Nations favourites Ivory Coast 8-7 on post-match penalties to lift the championship for the first time.
But the Ivorians are still the best team in Africa followed by Ghana on position two, Algeria on third and Mali on fourth.
Things don’t seem to be looking up for ‘Big Brothers’ South Africa either, as they too have fallen 11 steps from 60 in the world to 71 ans are now 15th on the continent, although they are the second-best in Cosafa after Zambia.
The Flames, however, can take solace in the fact that Kenya, their first opponents in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, are ranked 15 places lower at 117 in the world and 34th in Africa and that Nigeria, who are also in the same group with Malawi, have also dropped three places to position 60 in the world and 10th in Africa.
----©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment