Botswana national soccer team - The Zebras - has gone up 10 steps in the latest FIFA World Rankings to position 95. In Africa the team now sits at position 23.
The massive move is attributed to the recent sterling performances by the team. Despite losing out on the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers, the Zebras pulled a great display to defeat high ranked Mali. According to FIFA regulations if a lowly ranked team defeat a higher ranked one it gets more points. This is what helped the Zebras to move up the ladder. Peter Butler’s charges also previously defeated the likes of Burkina Faso and Eritrea to improve their standing. Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer Kitso Kemoeng is happy that the team is improving its ranking.
Even though he is pleased with the improved ranking he feels the team can still go up the ladder. “Surely at 95 we are still far. We have to work hard to move further up,” said Kemoeng. Position 95 is not the best ranking the country ever attained as it is way below the 2010 ranking. In that year FIFA placed Botswana at number 53 in the world. This has brought debates of whether the team will keep its ascending mode or like usual it will continue fluctuating.
Lack of international games for the national team has been picked as one of the factors that lead to the country’s fluctuating rankings. It is explained that if a country does not play they do not collect any points while others do. As a result others are likely to bypass that country if they collect more points.
Some soccer analysts say this has been the case with the Zebras as they only play international games during competitions.