bafana move up the ladder

ZURICH - Bafana Bafana's 3-0 victory over Zimbabwe in Durban last Wednesday has moved them from 85th position to 81st on the Fifa World rankings released by the world soccer body yesterday.

ZURICH - Bafana Bafana's 3-0 victory over Zimbabwe in Durban last Wednesday has moved them from 85th position to 81st on the Fifa World rankings released by the world soccer body yesterday.

The match was part of Bafana's preparations for the World Cup and it formed part of Carlos Alberto Parreira's two-week camp in Durban. The goals were scored by Siphiwe Tshabalala, Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Lucas Thwala.

Bafana also hammered Swaziland 6-2 during their camp in a practice match, which did not have any bearing on the rankings.

The Fifa world rankings yesterday saw Spain retain the top spot, and Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) winner Egypt surged into the top 10.

European champion Spain are followed by Brazil and Netherlands. World champion Italy are fourth and Portugal are fifth.

The top nine was unchanged after only No 8 Argentina played in the past month, beating Costa Rica 3-2 in a friendly match.

Egypt's third consecutive continental title on Sunday lifted them 14 places to No 10 and knocked Croatia down to No 11. Egypt had a previous high of No 15 in January 2009.

Nigeria achieved the highest position by an African nation when they ranked fifth in April 1994. They also made the top 10 in 2006.

Nigeria, who reached the Afcon semifinals, rose seven places to No 15 and runner-ups Ghana climbed seven to No 27.

Cameroon fell nine places to No 20, while Ivory Coast dropped six to No 22 after both lost at the quarterfinal stage.

The United States was unchanged at No 14 to lead the Concacaf nations and Mexico are still No 17.

Australia are the top Asian nation at No 23, a fall of two places and No 40 Japan rose three.

New Zealand, the World Cup qualifier from Oceania, climbed three spots to No 79. - Sowetan and Sapa-AP

X