Kenya slumps in Fifa ranking following defeat to South Sudan
Kenya’s recent defeat to South Sudan in an international friendly in Nairobi has negatively impacted the country on the latest Fifa rankings released on September 21, 2023.
As per the rankings released by the Zurich-based international football body on September 21, 2023, Kenya dropped four positions to position 109 on the 207-team log.
Despite a rally by President William Ruto for fans to throng the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, to cheer on team Kenya, Harambee Stars, coached by Engin Firat, suffered a shock 1-0 loss to their Northern neighbours in an international friendly.
South Sudan is ranked at position 167 on the rankings.
Kenya Police forward Tito Okello scored the lone goal to secure the historic win by South Sudan over Kenya.
Okello pounced after defender Joseph Okello, who is based in France and considered among the most experienced players in Kenya’s set-up, childlishly gave the ball away under no pressure.
Kenya failed to even the scores at the very least despite fashioning several chances through Asia based forwards Michael Olunga and Masoud Juma.
In the run up to the game against South Sudan, Kenya, famously referred to as Harambee Stars had surprised everyone, and perhaps even themselves, by posting an impressive 2-1 win away to Qatar in Doha.
The loss to South Sudan, coupled with Tanzania’s qualification to the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations, will further pile more pressure on Firat ahead of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers tournament which kicks off in November 2023.
But the diagnosis is not looking good, as Firat has publicly claimed he has not received his salary for the past seven months in a move that has led to blame game between Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the government.
Kenya is pooled in Group ‘F’ alongside Seychelles, Burundi, Gambia and Ivory Coast.
The winning team is assured qualification to the 2026 World Cup which will be held in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Meanwhile, Uganda leads the ranking charts in East Africa despite not securing qualification to the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations which will be held in Cote d’Ivorie.
Uganda Cranes are ranked 89th while Tanzania, coached by former Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche, is not at position 122.
Morocco (13th), Senegal (20th), Tunisia (29th), Algeria (34th) and Egypt (35th) are the top ranked five teams on the continent.
World champions Argentina are still at the top of the pile, followed closly by France, Brazil, England and Belgium.