After beating Lesotho 2-1 on Sunday in the second leg of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers the national side extended their hope of going through to the finals. Two goals from Getaneh Kebede helped Ethiopia win 2-1 away to Lesotho in Group J, to boost their hopes of finishing as one of the best runners-up.
This is the fifth goal for Getaneh in the qualification series. He scored double in the 3-3 draw against the African football powerhouse Algeria here at the Addis Ababa Stadium.
The national side have now eight points from five games. With only one match at hand, there are five runners up who have 10, nine and eight points. The chance for qualification depends on the win of the national side and defeat of other groups’ runners-up. For the national side the win gave a light at the end of the tunnel.
The national side will meet Seychelles in early September. According to the CAF schedule, all group matches will take place same day and same time in September.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian National football team went two steps down to take the 125th position comparing to April in the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) world rankings place in the June 2016 edition of the list. In March rankings the national side improved four places to take 120th position.
Neighbours Uganda, well known as Cranes, remained 72nd in the men’s FIFA world ranking positions and top countries in the Council of East and Central African Football Associations, widely known as CECAFA.
Kenya is down to the 41st places in Africa and 129th in the world. The Kenyan side are two places below Ethiopia who stand 125th in the world and 39th in Africa while Sudan are 128th in the world and 40th in Africa.
Burundi are far below in CECAFA zone. They are 132nd in the world and 42nd in Africa. In April they were 122nd. The other CECAFA nation Tanzania stand 136th in the world and 44th in Africa. In April their rankings were 130th.
South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia are the bottom sides in the June 2016 rankings. This shows that the Eastern part of African countries do not fare well in world football.
In a related report, Algeria remain the top side in Africa and 32nd in the world. Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt and Tunisia occupy from second to sixth places, in the order of that. There is no change of places for the top 6 sides in Africa in April and May standings.
FIFA ranking procedure goes along strict course of action: All points are awarded on a “World Cup cycle,” the four-year period between tournaments, per FIFA’s fact sheet. Of the international “A” matches taken into account for a month’s ranking, most of them are continental qualifiers in Europe, Africa and CONCACAF, other fixtures for friendly also considered.
Considering this, the national side’s position slumps regularly simply because they concede defeats in the qualifiers and regional competitions. Though it is slim, now they have the chance to go to the 2017 Gabon African Nations Cup as one of the best runners up.
Newly-appointed coach Gebre-Medhin Haile succeeded in collecting the full thee away points beating Lesotho on Sunday. If other runners up drop points in next match it is possible to advance. The coach said, “We’re looking to cause a few upsets and surprise by getting a place in the final. Of course, that doesn’t depend on our win alone. We get a place with a combination of our win and the defeat of other runners up.” He added that that his side will take that mantle on and see what we he can achieve.
Meanwhile, Euro 2016 qualifiers Northern Ireland have moved up to 26th in the FIFA world rankings, their best ever placing.
Wales slumped seven places to 24th in the latest list, England fell one spot to 10th, and the Republic of Ireland dropped two positions to 31st.
Scotland – who failed to qualify for the tournament in France – enjoyed a jump of five places into 40th place.
Argentina moved ahead of Belgium to top the rankings, with Chile, Colombia and Germany completing the top five.