The Super Eagles are ending the year 2012 as the 10th best team in Africa and 52nd in the world following the release of the December edition of the FIFA rankings on Wednesday.
Nigeria climbed back up to the 10th spot in November but despite gaining 28 points and moving up five places in the world rankings they are still ranked below Central African Republic, who are joint 52nd with same points, and Gabon, who are seventh in Africa and 10 places better than Nigeria in the world rankings.
African champions and one of Nigeria’s opponents in Group C of the Nations Cup, Zambia, also move five place up in the world ranking but remain fifth best in Africa behind leaders Cote d’Ivoire, while Algeria and Mali are in second and third places respectively.
Nigeria’s two other opponents in the group, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, are 24th and 31st respectively in the CAF section. The Burkinabes are 89th in the world, while the Walya Antelopes drop eight places to 110th.
On the global scale, the top 10 teams for last month remain in the fold, but there are a few shuffles in the group.
Spain will finish the year at the summit for the fifth time in succession – an achievement which earns them the ‘Team of the Year’ title – followed by Germany, Argentina and Italy.
FIFA says the results of 143 international games were taken into account for the December edition of the ranking. In total in 2012, the results of 900 matches have been taken into account, more than half of which were friendlies and more than a quarter of which were qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.