Although many view the rankings with scepticism, they do have a purpose in that they are used to determine seeding for major tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup.
And so Bafana’s ranking of 77 in the world, and 17 in Africa, is problematic for coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who will be eager to break into the top ten on the continent.
Indeed, Bafana’s downward spiral on the rankings has been the reason why they were thrown into the second tier pool of countries at the draw for the 2010 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
This time last year, effectively a month before Parreira took charge, Bafana were ranked 67 in the world and 16 in Africa, while two years ago the team was way up in 8th on the continent and 49th on the global standings, just a month before their awful showing in Egypt at the Nations Cup.
Interestingly all of Bafana’s Group D opponents in Ghana next month are ranked above them. West African giants Senegal are fifth on the continent and 37th in the world, while Tunisia are 10th in Africa and on position 47 on the global rankings. The third opponent in the group Angola is ranked 13th on the continent and 73rd in the world.
CAF rankings: (FIFA standings in brackets)
1. Nigeria (20) 2. Cameroon (24) 3. Guinea (33) 4. Cote dIvoire (37) 5. Senegal (38) 6. Egypt (39) 7. Morocco (39) 8. Ghana (43) 9. Mali (46) 10. Tunisia (47) 11. Zambia (65) 12. Togo (72) 13. Angola (73) 14. DR Congo (74) 15. Mozambique (75) 16. Uganda (76) 17. South Africa (77) 18. Algeria (79) 19. Equatorial Guinea (85) 20. Zimbabwe (87)