The senior national women football team, the Mighty Warriors, climbed the most on the latest Fifa/Coca-Cola Women’s World Rankings that were released by the world football mother body yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA
The team moved nine places from 107, when the statistics were last updated in September, breaking into the Top 100 at position 98.
In the Confederation of African Football (Caf) rankings, the Shadreck Mlauzi-coached side moved three rungs up the ladder from 14 to 11. The driving force behind the Mighty Warriors’ meteoritic rise was their win over Cameroon to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Zimbabwe beat Cameroon in the final qualifying round, losing the first leg 2-1 before winning the reverse fixture 1-0 qualifying on the away goals rule. This is the second time the Mighty Warriors have been ranked 98th this year, having assumed a similar place in March, before falling down to 104 in July. Their best ranking in the world remains position 82, achieved in 2013, while 107 is their worst ever.
Zimbabwe’s success over Cameroon, which resulted in the historic qualification to the Olympics have seen the Mighty Warriors nominated for the Women National Team of the Year by Caf, where they will battle it out with Ghana, South Africa and Cameroon.
However, their achievements were not recognised at the Annual National Sports Awards earlier this week, with the Team of the Year Award going to the netball senior team.
There was very little movements in both the Caf and world rankings’ top 10, with Nigeria maintaining their stranglehold on first position in Africa, followed by Cameroon, while Ghana completes the elite three.
USA, Germany and France are the best three in the world as the teams that made up the top 10 in September maintained their positions to ensure that they start the new year at the top of the table.
In total, 104 matches were played over the past three months in competitive women’s football. The majority of these games were focused on continental Olympic qualifying tournaments.
Malawi was the only nation to re-enter the rankings, while eight nations slid out of the rankings, due to prolonged inactivity, reducing the number of ranked countries from 147 to 140.
The next Fifa/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking will be published on March 25, 2016.