The Teranga Lions of Senegal remain the best national team in Africa according to the January release of the FIFA rankings, giving them a confidence boost and bragging rights ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon this month.
The West Africans retained the top spot they earned in November, as well as the 33rd spot overall, fighting off the challenge from second-placed Côte d’Ivoire (34), who are the defending AFCON champions.
While much of the top spots in Africa remained unchanged, the Pharaohs of Egypt managed to climb onto the continental podium in third place and 35th overall, so there is little difference between the top three African sides at the moment.
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia have fallen to fourth place, with an overall ranking of 36, followed by Algeria in 39th and fifth on the continent.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is sixth in Africa, but 49th overall, while the Super Eagles of Nigeria continued their rise up the rankings to seventh (50), overtaking Burkina Faso as they dropped three spots to 53.
The Black Stars of Ghana fell one spot in January to 54, while they are ninth in Africa, with fellow AFCON competitors Morocco completing the top 10 from an African perspective as the 57th country overall.
With the Nations Cup beginning on Saturday, the FIFA Ranking boost will provide Senegal with confidence ahead of a tournament in which Africa’s best will come head to head for the ultimate title on the continent.
Senegal will certainly fancy their chances in Gabon, but defending champions Côte d’Ivoire will have something to say at the competition, while the likes of Egypt, Algeria and Ghana should not be discounted.