Bafana up 17 on Fifa rankings

BAFANA Bafana's Kagisho Dikgacoi and Katlego Mphela are encouraged by the the national team's 17-place improvement on the Fifa world rankings.

Despite exiting the World Cup in the first round, the hosts rose from their entry point of 83 prior to June 11 to a more palatable 66. But Dikgacoi and Mphela believe Bafana can and should do better.

Dikgacoi said yesterday: "I think we deserve it. Even though we went out early, we did well enough for some movement. I don't think we deserve to be 66th, we can do much better. Since we have a few friendlies lined up soon I believe we will."

Though things did not go as planned and Bafana became the first hosts to be ejected in the first round of the tournament, the 25-year-old Fulham player expressed pride in being part of Carlos Alberto Parreira's side.

Mphela was more impressed with Bafana's five-place jump from 17th to 12th in Africa, calling it "a big improvement".

"Even though people might think it is all because of the France win, we had a good run before that. And the draw against Mexico was not a bad result."

The Mamelodi Sundowns man, who scored a goal in Bafana's 2-1 win against France, said: "We will push ourselves as hard as we can, and then the next generation will take over and beat that."

Ghana, eliminated in the quarterfinals by Uruguay, moved nine places to 23.

The top 20 world rankings (previous positions in parentheses) are:

1. Spain (2), 2. Netherlands (4), 3. Brazil (1) 4, Germany (6), 5. Argentina (7), 6. Uruguay (16), 7. England (8), 8. Portugal (3), 9. Egypt (11), 10. Chile (18), 11. Italy (5), 12. Greece (13), 13. USA (14), 15. (tie) Serbia (15) and Croatia (10), 16. Paraguay (31), 17. Russia (11), 18. Switzerland (24), 19. Slovenia (25) and 20. Australia (20). - Sapa-AP