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“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Friday, December 23, 2016

Lesotho finishes year 141st in the world

Progress... Jane Thaba-Ntšo and Likuena end 2016 43rd in Africa 
Lesotho will end the year as 43rd best team in Africa and 141st worldwide after the latest FIFA World Rankings were released on Thursday. Likuena have moved up one place in the rankings

Overall, 2016 has seen Lesotho move from 152nd in January to its current ranking at the end of the year. Likuena, however, are set to be inactive for a few months.

At the moment, Lesotho’s next assignment will only be in April when 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers begin.

In the rest of the rankings, Senegal ended 2016 as Africa’s highest ranked team edging out reigning African champions Ivory Coast to top spot.

Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco complete the latest top 10 released by FIFA.

All of the countries in the top 10, except for Nigeria, will be among the 16 challengers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in Gabon between January 14 and February 5.

Meanwhile, Argentina will end the year on top of the world ahead of neighbours Brazil. Argentina, beaten finalists in the Copa America in June, therefore, has taken the ‘Team of the Year’ title from Belgium who they overtook at the summit in April this year. In all, Argentina won ten of their 15 games in 2016, losing three and drawing twice.

The regional shaping of the ranking’s top 50 has taken on a different slant compared to this time last year. Asia has increased its standing with four teams now in the top 50, three more than last year.

Europe has 28 (minus one from last year), Africa has seven (minus one), and CONCACAF has three (minus one). South America retains its standing as the world’s proportional heavyweights with 80 per cent of CONMEBOL teams in the top 50. There are eight South American teams in the top 50, the same number as in December last year.

Happiness... Saido Mane and Senegal end 2016 on top of Africa
Africa Top 20 (world ranking in brackets):
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)
12 South Africa (60)
13 Cameroon (65)
14 Benin (66)
15 Guinea-Bissau (68)
16 Guinea (69)
17 Congo Brazzaville (70)
18 Uganda (72)
19 Cape Verde (80)
20 Libya (85)

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