ANALYSIS: FIFA’s ‘shocking’ ranking: Why Super Eagles were demoted

Nigeria Super Eagles celebrating in their Match with Argentina
Nigeria Super Eagles celebrating in their Match with Argentina

Just days after beating Argentina, a two-time World Cup champion, the world football body, FIFA, came out with its latest ranking – demoting Nigeria from fifth in Africa to eighth. Nigeria also slipped nine places down the world ranking to 50th spot.

Ironically, countries like Cameroon and Burkina Faso, who did not qualify for the World Cup, leaped over the Eagles. Morocco’s climb, however, can be justified because they qualified for the World Cup without conceding a single goal in their group.

But to put the FIFA logic in better perspective – in 2017, Nigeria played 17 games [both home-based and main team] and lost just three games. The home-based Eagles lost to Benin 1-0 in a CHAN qualifier and 4-1 to Ghana in the WAFU Cup final. The main team lost 2-0 to South Africa in a Nations Cup qualifier.

But for FIFA, the rules of their ranking never changes; which is why Italy, which failed to qualify for the World Cup, is now better ranked than England, which qualified without losing a match.

FIFA’S ranking formula is P = M x I x T x C

And the compounding rule states, “The number of points that can be won in a match depends on the following factors:

• Was the match won or drawn? (M)

• How important was the match (ranging from a friendly match to a FIFA World Cup match)? (I)

• How strong was the opposing team in terms of ranking position and the confederation to which they belong? (T and C)

These factors are brought together in the following formula to ascertain the total number of points (P).”

Between October 16, when Nigeria was ranked fifth in Africa and 41 in the world with 721 points, and November 23 when the Eagles were demoted to eighth in Africa and 50th in the world, what happened?

Nigeria played only two matches between October 16 and November 23:

10 November WCQ Algeria 1–1 Nigeria

14 Nov 2017 Friendly Nigeria 4-2 Argentina

Looking at the snapshot above, one sees results of matches from November 2013 and wonders: what does that have to do with today’s demotion?

Well, you just need to ask FIFA and here is the answer.

“A team’s total number of points over a four-year period is determined by adding:

 the average number of points gained from matches during the past 12 months; and

 the average number of points gained from matches older than 12 months (depreciates yearly).”

So, the present ranking of the Super Eagles was not dependent on, ”just that draw in Algeria and the win over Argentina.” It was also determined by the draw to Italy and loss to Jordan in November 2013.

But if you are still wondering – we all just have to understand that not all laws make sense and since we cannot get into the mind of the person or persons that formulated this – we just have to abide with it.

It is called FIFA ranking, so they make the laws that govern it. Be happy, no matter the current ranking of the Super Eagles – you will see them in Russia next year.


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  • Nnamdi Ugwuadu

    That in any way does not make any sense. To hail with FIFA ranking, we have flogged Argentina to stupor and that remains their annoyance. Up Super Eagles of Nigeria! Russia here we come.

    • Cub

      correct spelling is to hell. Hail is to praise someboby. tenses- we flogged not we have flogged. Meanwhile FIFA ranking is of no concequence. And i do not think that our team is strong enough after beating a Mesi-less Argentina in a friendly match.

      • IBRAHIM DAUDA

        You reasons like Fifa men.

  • thusspokez

    This current Super Eagles looks very strong, so placing it in the same group with teams high on the FIFA ranking albeit
    ordinary can only benefit the Super Eagles in qualifying with less difficulty in that group.

  • Chidiomimi

    If we can’t know how they plot their ranking it means it is not real. Their plan is to demoralize Eagle but it will not work by the grace of God. We will leave good impression during the mudial.

  • Kingtappa

    The Fifa ranking in my opinion is just like the ESQ Title commonly used by lawyers. It doesn’t add trophies, we should focus on becoming very hard to beat. Kudos to the Super Eagles coach for his efforts in bringing young and good players.

  • Jach J. King

    FIFA’s ranking low and/or demotion of Super Eagles of Nigeria was a clear indication of frivolities bedeviling it and a demonstration of bitterness for taking away the pride of its “beloved” ARGENTINA’S FOOTBALLERS.

    Though we had more than 3 Judas in a 12 number of apostles of Nigeria, but these are hypocrites and sycophants assiduously working for the downfall of Nigeria Nation, yet they were being fed from the National resources. STING OF DEATH & POWER OF GRAVE WILL SOON SWALLOW THEM UP.

    • IBRAHIM DAUDA

      Aameen.