Seychelles' football team moves up 13 places in FIFA rankings
Group photo of the Seychelles national football team taken on Saturday March 26, ahead of the qualifying match for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2017 against Lesotho. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)
Seychelles is now in 178th place with 56 points, and the chair of the local federation says the improved ranking is a reward for the team’s hard work.
“It is actually a reward of the work that is being done by the coach and his management team. They are working hard, and the result is that we are now climbing in the rankings,” Elvis Chetty, chair of the Seychelles Football Federation, told SNA.
The team from the island nation is participating in the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, losing 4-0 to Algeria, drawing 1-1 against Ethiopia, defeating Lesotho 2-0 and losing to the same team 2-1.
FIFA’s ranking is based on how well a national team performs at the international level and is calculated by taking a team’s total points over a four-year period and adding the average number of points gained from matches during the past 12 months and those of a year before that.
The results of the national team of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has helped improved the rankings.
The team’s coach Ralph Jean-Louis says the new spot has advantages for his team.
“We talked about it in Lesotho and said if we win the match it will improve our ranking which is good for us when they are making draw example for the COSAFA competition, so it brings certain advantages.”
The COSAFA Castle Cup 2016 will take place in Namibia June 11-25.
The Seychelles' next AFCON match is against Algeria on June 4 which is the focus of the team’s preparation.
“We have a mammoth task on the 4th June when we will be hosting Algeria with all their premier league players. Our first focus is actually to perform well against them here in Seychelles,” says Chetty.
Coach Jean-louis says the team and management met on Thursday to discuss plans for the international matches.
“I have put forward a plan for us to work on so that we can better prepare for the match against Algeria and the COSAFA competition. We want to pass the first round stage of COSAFA. That is our objective.”
Seychelles' best ranking so far is 129th in October 2006 and Jean-Louis believe that ranking can be matched soon.
“With the group that we have now, it not impossible. If we continue the same level of performance at the end of the year we can still go higher on the ranking.”
At the top of the ranking is Argentina. Mauritius, another Indian Ocean island team, is ranked 154th.