Wednesday, February 15, 2006

February

The most recent February FIFA rankings provide a lot of insight into how those number-crunchers do business. The most illustrative example is that of the African countries who participated in the just-completed Nations Cup.

Have a look at the participating countries and the places gained or lost:
Egypt +15
Côte d'Ivoire +10
Nigeria +12
Senegal +1
Cameroon +7
Guinea +21
Tunisia +5
DR Congo +5
Angola +3
Ghana +2
Zimbabwe +1
Zambia +1
Morocco -1
Libya 0
Togo -3
South Africa -1

Total places gained: 83
Total places dropped: 5

This kind of data would lead one to believe that a team that consistently played 6 or 7 matches a month, against no better than adequate opposition, at slightly better than .500, would soon be the world's best, according to FIFA (or the statisticians thereof). I know this isn't a zero-sum scenario, but how can there be a net 78-place gain for African sides for playing amongst themselves?

The only change in the top 10 sees Spain dropping into a 6th place tie with Mexico and the U.S. (both were tied at 7th in January).

3 comments:

Useless Man said...

Where's Canada?

Useless Man said...

Oh wait.. their not in Africa...

Never mind. Stupid globe.

J said...

Good catch on that geography slip-up :) If you're curious, Canada dropped a spot in the most recent rankings (February) and sit in 85th place overall.