The Super Eagles have ended the year as Africa’s fifth-best team after a disappointing 2022 that saw them fail to make the World Cup.
In the November 2022 FIFA ranking released on Thursday, the three-time African champions are now 35th in the global pecking order.
Morocco are the number team in Africa and 11th in the World. Senegal at 19th, Tunisia at 30th, and Cameroon at 33rd complete the continent’s first five.
Overall, Brazil retained the top spot despite crashing out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals. They are followed by Argentina who claimed their third world title on Sunday. Runners-up France are back in third while Belgium and France complete the top five position.
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Nigeria began the year placing 3rd on the continent and 32nd on the world stage. But a string of poor results saw the West Africans’ fortunes plummet.
Going into the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as one of the favourites earlier in the year, the 1980 champions quickly cemented their status as one of the frontrunners for the continental diadem. They picked three wins in the group stage, amassing nine points in the process.
But the team broke the hearts of millions of Nigerian fans after a shocking defeat to Tunisia in the round of 16. The Carthage Eagles had qualified as one of the best third-placed teams and were ravaged by COVID-19 going into the clash with Nigeria.
While many were still seething from the AFCON heartbreak, the Super Eagles surrendered the 2022 World Cup ticket to rivals Ghana on the away goal rules. They played a goalless draw in the first leg of the playoff away before the Black Stars forced them to a 1-1 stalemate in the March double-header.
March’s World Cup disappointment was followed up by a ray of hope as Nigeria recorded its biggest win in football with a 10-0 trouncing of minnows Sao Tome and Principe in June under new coach Jose Peseiro.
But losses to Portugal (4-0) Costa Rica, Algeria, Mexico, and Ecuador in friendly games, meant the Super Eagles had one of their worst years on record.