By FOCUS REPORTER
Bafana Bafana continues to climb high up on the FIFA world rankings after they moved four places up to 47 on the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World rankings released on Tuesday.
They have made similar strides on the continent moving from the 12th spot to 8th position. The last time South Africa was in these lofty positions – world’s top 50 and Africa’s top 10 – was way back in 2006.
Last year, shortly before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the country was ranked 66th and has been climbing ever since.
“This is in line with our vision of being number one on the continent, it also supports our commitment to building a world class national team. We believe we are on the right track, and would like to say congratulations to the Bafana Bafana technical team, especially the coach and also the players for the sterling work they have put in. Credit should also go to the whole country for their support towards their own national team,” said SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani.
But he was quick to warn that the team should not rest on its laurels as there is still room for improvement.
“This is certainly a journey of a thousand miles, so we should warn all those involved that we are not there yet, only hard work will take us to our desired destination. We should never be complacent, but always remain focused on our target – which is to reach even greater heights,” added Nematandani.
His sentiments were echoed by Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane, who was also elated at the news of South Africa’s rise on the World Rankings.
“We are happy with the improved rankings, this is a good sign that we are making progress towards achieving our Vision 2014 goals. We are however mindful of the heavy load of work ahead of us to get to where we want to be. But this achievement serves as an inspiration to the technical team, the players and the Association in general. We made a pledge that we will work very hard in our quest to restore South Africa’s pride in continental and global football, and we are happy with the progress made so far,” said Mosimane.
World champions Spain is still the number one ranked country in the world, followed by Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and Argentina in the top five. The top ten is completed by England, Uruguay, Portugal, Croatia and Greece.
On the African continent Ghana tops the list, followed by the Ivory Coast, Egypt, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Guinea. North Africans Tunisia and Algeria are the other countries in the top ten.
The next FIFA/Coca Cola Rankings will be released on Wednesday, March 9.