The rankings released by the World Football governing body showed that Nigeria’s Super Eagles moved up three places from the 44th position in September and now 41st, but maintained the fifth spot in Africa.
Nigeria will be grouped alongside other ‘minnow’ representatives from Africa and Asia in the last pot at the draw ceremony based on their FIFA ranking released yesterday. The standings are the major determinant of the group all the participating teams will fall into.
Unlike in the previous tournaments when teams were grouped according to their co-efficient from last four appearances at the Mundial, this time around, ranking of participating teams is the lone parameter.
This development means no nation from the Africa, Asia and CONCACAF regions can be top seeded. While elite nations like defending champion, Germany and Brazil are already guaranteed to be seeded top (Pot one) as they have qualified for the finals while Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France complete the top pot seeding based on their respective rating in the first seven nations on the list.
Significantly, of the 23 teams already assured of a place in the 2018 World Cup, the host country, Russia is the least ranked.
OCTOBER RANKINGS OF THE 23 TEAMS THAT HAVE
QUALIFIED FOR RUSSIA 2018 SO FAR:
22nd Costa Rica