Zambia’s Chipolopolo moved 11 places up the first FIFA/Coca-Cola World ranking of the year as the Africa Cup of Nations impacted hugely on the global listing released February 3, 2010.
While Spain continue to occupy top spot ahead of Brazil and the Netherlands, African champions Egypt managed to climb 14 places to 10th place after they successfully defended their title at the 27th Orange Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.
Quarter-finalists Zambia were among the best movers, jumping from number 84 in the world and 17 in Africa to number 73 in the world and 14 in Africa. The Chipolopolo’s rise is due to their display in Angola and their pre-tournament matches against Mozambique, Nigeria and South Korea.
FAZ Communications Manager Erick Mwanza said the jump was a very god indication of the great strides Zambian football had continued to record over the last two years.
“As FAZ we’re happy with the tremendous rise of the team. However, like the President of the Football Association of Zambia Kalusha Bwalya told the world media in Angola, we did not need to wait for the rankings to show us how much progress we had made and we continue to make as a team and nation. With our eyes on the ball, we are moving well in the direction of establishing Zambia as a giant in Africa and a global force.”
“It only means more hard work and maintaining the highest levels of professionalism in everything we do” Mwanza said.
Among other African countries that have benefitted from the Africa Cup and made considerable strides are semi-finalists Nigeria (15th, up 7) and finalists Ghana (27th, up 7) made considerable strides. Further down Malawi (82nd, up 17) also made good progress.
A total of 82 international “A” matches were taken into account for this edition of the ranking, 15 of which were played in 2009 (total of 849 “A” matches played in 2009). In addition to the 29 matches played in the Africa Cup of Nations, 11 continental qualifying matches and 42 friendlies were played.