By GEOFFREY ANENE

Kenya has risen two places in the latest Fifa rankings released by the world football body on Thursday.

Harambee Stars are now in position 105, up from 107 following their 0-0 result in Bahir Dar and 3-0 win in Nairobi against neighbours Ethiopia in back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group “F” qualifying matches held on October 10 and October 14 respectively.

Sebastien Migne’s charges had the biggest leap during the September rankings in terms of points, when they stunned Ghana 1-0 in Nairobi in their second qualifying match to improve from 112 to 107 after clinching 22 points (17.9 from beating Ghana and 4.1 from defeating Malawi in an international friendly match also in Nairobi).

The latest round of results against Ethiopia have seen Harambee Stars add their points tally from 1204 to 1210. They are tied on 105th with Libya, who have dropped six places. Stars have also benefited from Niger’s slip-up. Niger suffered 1-0 and 2-1 defeats in the hands of Tunisia.

Frenchman Migne has led Stars in 10 games; 6 wins, 3 losses and one draw since taking charge on May 3, 2018.

He started his three-year reign with a 1-0 loss against Swaziland in an international friendly on May 25 and then guided Stars to thump Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in another friendly tie on May 28.

Both matches were held at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. Stars then hit Ghana and Malawi 1-0 each before the back-to-back matches against Ethiopia. His next assignment is against Sierra Leone (down one spot to 115) in an Afcon qualifying match on November 18 in Nairobi.

The West Africans are currently serving an indefinite ban from Fifa, so the fixture remains uncertain.

The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) said on October 23 that in the event that the ban is not lifted, Migne and his boys could play an international friendly on November 20 against a side yet to be disclosed.

In the Eastern Africa zone famously known as Cecafa, Uganda still tops the Fifa chart at position 79 thanks to 3-0 and 2-0 wins against Lesotho in AFCON qualifiers. Like Kenya, Uganda also lead the race to reach Cameroon in 2019 in Group “L”. The Ugandans have improved four places in the global rankings.

Tanzania, which is in the same group with Uganda and currently placed second in that group, has jumped four places to 136th after shocking number 67 ranked Cape Verde.

Cape Verde are now in position 68 after succumbing to a 2-0 loss in Dar es Salaam on October 16. Sudan have dropped from 132 to 135.

They remain third in Cecafa, followed by Rwanda, who are on the verge on exiting the race to be in Afcon after losing 2-0 in Guinea and then drawing 1-1 in Kigali in Group “H”.

After forcing 0-0 and 1-1 draws against highly-rated Mali, Burundi have bettered their position from 148th to 142, and are just behind Rwanda in the region.

Ethiopia drop one place to 150 in the world, but stay sixth in Cecafa. South Sudan occupy seventh spot in Cecafa and 159 in the world after tumbling two places.

Other members of Cecafa are Djibouti (down one place to 197) and Eritrea and Somalia (both two places up to 204).

Tunisia continue to lead the table in Africa at position 22 in the world. The Tunisians, who have improved their place by one spot and are already through to next year’s Afcon in Cameroon, are followed by Senegal, who are also through.

Senegal remain 25th globally. The Democratic Republic of Congo are out of the top 40 after losing 2-1 and drawing 1-1 against Zimbabwe in mid-October.

The Congolese are down six places to 46th in the world. Morocco, Cameroon and Ghana are all down two places, one spot and a place to positions 47, 51 and 52, respectively.

Burkina Faso occupies position 57 from 56 last month, while Egypt has moved up six places to 58th. Ivory Coast complete the top 10 countries in Africa at position 64. The Elephants have jumped up two places.

There are three changes in the top 10 teams in the world, with Belgium still on top. World champions France have dropped to second place, having jointly held top spot with Belgium last month.

Brazil and Croatia stay third and fourth respectively. England has moved up one place to fifth and pushed Uruguay to sixth.

Portugal, Switzerland, Spain and Colombia close the best 10 countries in the world in that order.

The biggest gainers were Gibraltar, who are up eight places to 190th, while the biggest losers are Mozambique from 113 to 122.

Source – Daily Nation

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