Wednesday, February 15, 2006


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).


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.