TANZANIA’s nose dive in latest FIFA rankings has pressed the panic button as the Tanzania Football Federation (TFFF) is huffing and puffing to turn around the situation.
TFF Acting General Secretary, Wilfred Kidao, said yesterday in Dar es Salaam that the down fall for the past three months has left them grimfaced and deeply annoyed. Kidao said they are working round the clock to seek friendlies with top continental sides away and at home.
The response came a day after FIFA released the latest FIFA Coca-Cola World rankings showing Tanzania has dropped 11 positions to settle at the 136th position.
This came after the country dropped five places from the previous rankings. According to Kidao the federation has been hunting for international friendly games against strong teams, but most often failed to attract any of the intended team due to their busy schedules.
He said most of them were engaged in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers assignment. On its recent Fifa date match held at the Uhuru Stadium proved to be costly as Tanzania was held to a 1-1 draw by Malawi’s Flames who are currently settled in the 117th position after dropping by one position and they are ahead of three East African nations Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
However, Kidao unveiled that the federation’s main target is to ensure the national team, Taifa Stars acquire as many away international friendly games as possible in a bid to improve the ranking status. The what TFF calls effective trials will be also used to drill players for the 2019 AFCON qualifying match against Uganda Cranes.
Taifa Stars are pooled in group L in the qualifiers alongside Uganda , Lesotho and Cape Verde. They are scheduled to take on Uganda Cranes in March next year in Kampala. The 2019 AFCON final will be staged in Cameroon.
Stars have played two international friendly matches and won one and drew the other. They beat Botswana’s Zebras 2-0 before being held to a 1-1 draw with the Malawi Flames.
Since the new TFF leadership took charge of the office, Tanzania has seen a massive drop in the rankings while neighbours Uganda’s position soared to the 70th position.
They retain their status as East Africa’s top ranked team followed by Kenya at the second place while Rwanda and Burundi have remained static at 118th and 129th positions respectively. Tanzania and South Sudan (153rd ) are placed in the fifth and sixth positions respectively.
Tunisia moved up three places to rank as Africa’s best team at 28th while Egypt who qualified to the World Cup for the first time since 1990, remained static at position 30.
Senegal is the third best ranked African country after moving one spot up to 32nd. Worldwide, the top five has not changed with Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil remaining the world’s top in the rankings.