As predicted by local football analysts, the senior national soccer team - The Zebras - has tumbled 12 places in the recently released FIFA World Rankings. The rankings, which were released on Thursday, place Botswana at position 113 in the World from 101st spot that the country held in the previous month. In Africa Zebras is now ranked at position 35 out of the 54 countries. The continued down sliding of the local team is attributed to the prolonged inactivity of team. The Zebras have been missing a number of FIFA friendly match weeks. The last time the team played a competitive game was in the AFCON qualifiers against Burkina Faso at the start of September. According to analysts, this is not good for the team.
Fabian Zulu has previously said this puts the team at a disadvantage as it risks losing points for the FIFA rankings. Another analyst Mmoni Segopolo also had also said that Botswana can never improve her rankings when the Zebras are not playing any games. They both concurred that the Zebras are being denied the opportunity to improve in the world log. Zulu added that the team’s inactivity does not only affect the rankings but also robs players and the coach to be able to build a formidable team for future. “These games give the coach the chance to put his team and try combinations and formations without any pressure of thinking about a competition,” said Zulu.
This is a continued nosedive as in July 2016 Zebras was ranked in position 91 worldwide. Analysts say should nothing be done the team will go all the way down to its worse ranking. The worse ranking Zebras ever recoded was position 165 in November 1999. However by the end of 2010 the team had turned tables around to record the highest ranking ever at position 53. When last contacted concerning this Botswana Football Association (BFA) spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said BFA leadership acknowledges the importance of the FIFA dates on the national team. Mpatane said even though mostly the association is hit by financial constraints, going forward BFA is willing to honour all these games for the benefit of the team.