THE WARRIORS returned to the top 100 of the Fifa/Coca-Cola World Rankings after climbing two places from 102 to position 100, according to the latest Fifa Coca-Cola World Rankings released by the world football governing body Fifa yesterday.
Zimbabwe’s improvement on the rankings was made possible by the team’s 2-1 win over Botswana in an international friendly at Rufaro Stadium on February 6.
Goals from Khama Billiat and new Warriors skipper Denver Mukamba were enough to cancel out Tebogo Sembowa’s shock opener and hand interim coach Dieter Klaus Pagels a first win in his first match since taking over from Rahman Gumbo.
Zimbabwe, who fielded some of their foreign-based players, were using the match to prepare for the upcoming must- win Fifa World Cup qualifier against Egypt on March 22.
The win also ensured Zimbabwe improved their position of the Fifa Coca-Cola rankings as the friendly match fell on the Fifa designated dates for international friendlies.
Points accrued in this friendly match were considered for world rankings.
While Zimbabwe rose two places, their opponents dropped four places on the Fifa rankings following the defeat, slumping four places from position 124 to 128th.
Meanwhile, the latest rankings, which come on the back of the African Nations Cup, pushed Nigeria up 22 places to 30th following their tournament win, while runners-up Burkina Faso moved from 82nd to 55th. Ivory Coast’s 12th-place is their best-ever ranking.
South Africa’s quarter-final appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations saw them jump a remarkable 25 places in the Fifa World Rankings.
Gordon Igesund’s men have moved up to 60th in the world and are now number 10 in Africa.
Spain still lead the overall rankings, followed by Germany, Argentina and England. 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil are in 18th place.