Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, have completed their return to the world’s top-100 band after emerging as the world’s second best mover—by 28 places—on the latest Fifa/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
The Flames, who slumped to a decade low from position 107 to 133 in July 2016, are now ranked 99th out of 205 teams on the world chart. World football governing body, Fifa, revised the ranking yesterday.
“While Brazil are the month’s biggest points scorers, Bolivia climbed furthest (75, up 35), followed by Malawi (99, up 28), Faroe Islands (111, up 24) and the Dominican Republic (114, up 24),” reads www.fifa.com
Reacting to the rise, Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan, who took charge of the Flames in a caretaker role until September 10 2016, said it was important to cement their top place on the ranking.
“As a nation, we need to have the right attitude towards the ranking. We need to aim for top-70 and even 40,” Ramadhan said yesterday.
“When you are ranked highly, you are exempted from preliminary rounds of competitions, such as Cosafa Castle Cup, and also scouts look at ranking when recommending players.”
Malawi, who are positioned 25th out of 54 teams in Africa, have risen partly due to their 1-0 win over Swaziland in a dead-rubber Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The Flames are fifth out of 14 Southern African teams.
Other variables are also used when calculating the ranking, including strength of opposition and average performance over some years. Swaziland have also risen by two places to position 100 in the world.
Cote d’Ivoire lead the continent while placed 34th in the world followed by Algeria (35), Senegal (39), Tunisia (42) and Ghana (43).
Fifa yesterday said they took into account 61 matches played across the world last month.
On the world stage, Argentina and Belgium remain on first and second places, respectively and Germany are third (one place up). Colombia (four, down one) traded places while Brazil moved into joint fourth place.
“This month, the following teams reached their best ever position on the Fifa/Coca-Cola World Ranking: Guinea-Bissau (73, up two), St Kitts and Nevis (77, up four), Kazakhstan (83, up 13), Comoros (152, up three), and Kosovo (168, up 22),” added the website.
“A notable mention goes to the four teams breaking into the top 50: Scotland (44, up 7), Australia (45, up 12), Greece (48, up 4), and Uzbekistan (49, up 6).”