18 October 2013
Bafana Bafana moved up seven places to 61st in the latest Fifa world rankings, which were released on Thursday.
It has been a year of fluctuating fortunes for the South African national football team, which began 2013 ranked 85th in the world, but rocketed up 25 places in February after a strong performance at the Africa Cup of Nations.
After remaining in a narrow band, ranked between 56th and 62nd, until July, the team slid to 67th in August and a further place in September before its latest rise.
Bafana Bafana are level with Libya in the world rankings and in 11th place on the continent, and while the ascent of the team will be a welcome development the 11th place is far off the ambition of the South African Football Association to see all South African national teams ranked in the top three on the continent.
Africa’s top team, the Ivory Coast, is ranked 17th in the world, followed by Ghana in 23rd place, Algeria in 32nd and African champions, Nigeria, in 33rd place.
It has been a busy year for Bafana Bafana, with the team playing 17 matches, winning seven of them, losing six and drawing four times. Two of their losses came in shootouts from the penalty spot.
African Nations Championship
The composition of the team has varied for different competitions, and coach Gordon Igesund will be forced to shuffle his squad again as he prepares the players for their next challenge, the African Nations Championship.
The continental competition to be played in Cape Town, Polokwane and Bloemfontein from 11 January to 1 February 2014, features national teams made up of players who ply their trade in their home countries.
South Africa are in Group C of the 16-team finals with Nigeria, Mali and Mozambique. Nigeria and Mali are ranked above Bafana Bafana in Africa, but the relative strength of the four teams is something of an unknown given that the teams will be composed of only home-based players.
Nigeria beat the Ivory Coast in qualifying, winning 4-1 at home and losing 0-2 away to book their place in South Africa. Mali saw off Guinea after a 3-1 home win and a 0-1 loss in the second leg of their tie.
Mozambique, meanwhile, sneaked through their tie, thumping Namibia 3-0 at home, but losing 0-3 away before edging it 5-4 from the penalty spot.
BAFANA BAFANA RESULTS 2013
- 8 Jan: Cape Town, SA 0-1 Norway
- 12 Jan: Johannesburg, SA 0-0 Algeria
- 19 Jan: Johannesburg, SA 0-0 Cape Verde Islands
- 23 Jan: Durban, SA 2-0 Angola
- 27 Jan: Durban, SA 2-2 Morocco
- 02 Feb: Durban, SA 1-1 a.e.t. (1-3 PSO) Mali
- 23 Mar: Cape Town, SA 2-0 Central African Republic
- 08 June: Yaounde, Central African Republic 0-3 SA
- 16 June: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2-1 SA
- 13 July: Lusaka, SA 2-1 Namibia
- 17 July: Ndola, SA 0-0 (3-5 PSO) Zambia
- 20 July Ndola, SA 2-1 Lesotho
- 14 Aug: Durban, SA 0-2 Nigeria
- 17 Aug: Johannesburg, SA 2-0 Burkina Faso
- 07 Sept: Durban, SA 4-1 Botswana
- 10 Sept: Johannesburg, SA 1-2 Zimbabwe
- 11 Oct: Agadir, Morocco 1-1 SA