By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
BAFANA Bafana’s impressive performance during the 2010 FIFA World Cup which was held in the country did not go down un-noticed after the team moved eight places on the FIFA World Rankings to number 58.
Bafana who were ranked 66 before their 2-0 victory in Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium earlier this month in the first leg of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifying match have been enjoying massive support from the fans around the country, and their current position on the FIFA rankings could even see them enjoy more support.
The other achievement was beating Ghana 1-0 in a friendly international ahead of their AFCON qualifier against Niger. The victory against Ghana was their second win after having beaten France 2-1 in their world cup campaign’s last group match.
The SA Football Association (Safa) has since welcomed Bafana’s continuous improvement on the football universe. Back to back victories against Ghana and Niger respectively have earned the newly appointedb coach, Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane’s men a 58th spot in the world. Bafana Bafana has now moved 8 places from the previous 66th spot. South Africa is now amongst the top ten in Africa.
The good news comes at a time when Mosimane and his technical team are working tirelessly to put strategies in place for the upcoming 2012 AFCON away fixture against Sierra Leone in Freetown early next month.
Bafana currently top their group in the qualifiers with three points following a one nil win over Niger at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, while current AFCON title holders Egypt share second place with Sierra Leone after a draw between the two sides.
Mosimane said the improvement in the FIFA rankings is a reflection of the hard work that has gone into putting the team together.
“This is a typical case of return on investment, but I must add that it is a process, our ultimate objective is to attain the ideals of Vision 2014. The process starts now with recording important wins, working hard to qualify for the 2012 AFCON tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and ultimately fighting for a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil,” said Mosimane.
He added that: “Improving our status on the world rankings comes with its own expectation and challenges. People expect you to win against any team that is ranked below you, but it is interesting because the same expectation is not applied when you play against a team that is ranked higher than you, nonetheless I’m content that we are making progress in terms of our plan.”
Bafana are now ranked 10 on CAF’s rankings with Egypt (9th on FIFA rankings) on top while Ghana (20th on FIFA) are on the second position.”
The rest of rankings on CAF with FIFA in the brackets are: Ivory Coast 3 (23), Gabon 4 (31), Nigeria 5 (34), Algeria 6 (35), Cameroon 7 (37), Burkina Faso 8 (38) and Tunisia 9 (56).