Malawi women’s national football team has emerged from ashes of hibernation to bounce back onto the women’s world ranking with a bang.
World football governing body, Fifa website reported on Friday that Malawi has climbed 14 places up on the ranking to 134th position out of 140 ranked sides.
“Malawi is the only nation to re-enter the ranking, while eight nations have slid out of the ranking due to prolonged inactivity, reducing the number of ranked countries from 147 to 140,” reads www. fifa.com.
The rise follows a recent 2-0 loss away in Tanzania, Malawi’s first game on any front after three years of hibernation.
Malawi has jumped from the list of teams on reserve ranking to the latest position.
National Women Football Association president, Severia Chalira, was not ready for a comment, but Football Association of Malawi technical director, John Kaputa, painted a bright picture.
“It is good news. In 2016 we want to introduce a domestic national league for women football involving 12 junior teams drawn from secondary schools and clubs that have women’s football teams,” Kaputa said.
“The game against Tanzania was an eye-opener. It gave us an idea of where we stand and where we need to improve. Therefore, next month the team will regroup ahead of Cosafa Women’s Cup participation in March.”
Ranks reflect teams’ strengths.
Out of 45 African teams, the Thom Mkolongo-coached team is 19th while 37th world’s rated team Nigeria lead the continent.
Mkolongo and Austria-based captain Chisomo Kazisonga said they were excited with the rise.
“I guess with two or more games, the team can make some more strides,” said Kazisonga, who alongside, Sweden-based Tabitha Chawinga, are the only Europe-based players in the Malawi team.
In Southern Africa, Malawi is positioned fifth behind fourth-ranked Zambia (121 in the world), Namibia (120), Zimbabwe (118) and the region’s best, South Africa, who are 56th in the world.
On the world chart, there are also 20 reserve-ranked teams. But from the rated teams, Botswana is at the tail-end on position 140.
On the world stage, the United States, Germany, France, Japan and England make up the top five.
Fifa website added that the teams that made up the top 10 in September have maintained their positions for the latest ranking.
“In total, 104 matches have been played over the past three months in competitive women’s football. The majority of these games were focused on continental Olympic qualifying tournaments and qualifying for the 2017 European Championship in the Netherlands,” reads the website.
Other teams to improve on their best-ever scores include New Zealand (1846), Austria (1730), Costa Rica (1630), South Africa (1431), Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Newly ranked teams: Malawi
Most matches played: Trinidad and Tobago (seven)
Biggest drop by ranks: Jamaica (72nd, down five), Estonia (82nd, down five).
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