Bafana’s no-show affects its Fifa rankings

2012-01-28 16:13

Bafana Bafana’s absence at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations is impacting negatively on South Africa’s position in the Fifa rankings.

Bafana’s continuous downward spiral on the world rankings will be compounded by the positive results the lowly ranked nations are earning at the Equatorial Guinea and Gabon showpiece.

As if the soccer gods were conspiring against Bafana, six of the so-called minnows have recorded unexpected victories over teams that are perched higher in the rankings.

Fifa awards teams more points for winning against highly ranked opponents.

This will see Tunisia (10th on the continent), Zambia (16), Angola (19) and Mali (15) gaining more points
just from the opening matches across all four Afcon groups.

In the meantime, Bafana will be losing points as they have been inactive since their last official match took place earlier this month against Equatorial Guinea.

The clashes against Zambia and Ghana were downgraded to training matches.

Bafana are rated eighth by CAF and 56th by Fifa after falling four places in the rankings released just last week.

The so-called smaller teams’ gain in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon will be Bafana’s loss.

Going into the Afcon, Equatorial Guinea were the lowest-ranked side in the Fifa world ranking at 151 but their surprise victories over Libya and Senegal will definitely improve their standing.

According to Free State Stars coach Steve Komphela, the Afcon has shown that it does not matter where teams are ranked in order to win games.

Komphela said rankings were just numbers used to separate teams, not a barometer to judge their capabilities.

“Sometimes we are misled by things like rankings and big names and if that was the case, the likes of Egypt and Nigeria would have qualified. The question is: does it really matter whether you are ranked in the top 10 or bottom 10?” asked Komphela.

He said the fact that bottom-placed teams like Equatorial Guinea and Zambia were giving a good account of themselves was a clear indication of how football has evolved.

“Who would have bet on Equatorial Guinea beating Senegal?”

Komphela said introducing rankings was one way of avoiding countries downgrading matches.

“Rankings are necessary for the good of the game but they don’t make a huge difference and they don’t participate.

“At this tournament you don’t see a clear distinction between chalk and cheese in terms of quality.”

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