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18.04.2007 Football News

Ghana slips down FIFA’s rankings

By myjoyonline

Football's world governing body, FIFA, on Wednesday released its April rankings with Ghana at a disappointing 28th perch in the world and fourth in Africa behind Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria.

Cameroon is 13th, Cote d'Ivoire 25th and Nigeria 27th.

The previous rankings in March which saw Ghana rise to an encouraging 19 position and second in Africa only behind Cameroon (now 13th) gave many a lot to cheer about.

However, that was just before the Black Stars embarked on two difficult adventures, first against Austria which ended 1:1 and then the fatal 1:0 loss against Brazil.

World Champions Italy moved to the top after exchanging places with March Champions Argentina, while Brazil stayed at number three.

For the African challenge, success in qualifiers for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2008 has been responsible for bringing significant gains for Cameroon (up five places), Nigeria (27th, up nine) and Guinea (50th, up 12).

The first 10 best nations list has Italy, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, England, Spain and Czech Republic in that order.

Meanwhile the Black Stars has penned down June 3 to engage Mexico in her next friendly match in preparation for the CAN 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

The Media/Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Football Association, Randy Abbey, disclosed to the Statesman in Accra, that the next FIFA free date for international friendly is June 3, when the GFA decided to pitch their strength against an European side, Switzerland.

"But the Swiss backed out, forcing the GFA to accept another challenge against Mexico, who beat the Black Stars 1-0 before the 2006 World Cup", he said.

He said the friendlies were aimed at exposing the new players of the Stars to the international terrain, adding "they are adapting very well and beaming with confidence."

Mr Abbey praised the Black Stars coach Claude Le Roy for his courage by experimenting with young players in the last friendly against Brazil, who featured against popular stars like Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho.

Randy Abbey hinted that there were more international friendlies line up for the Stars in August, September and December.

"There would even be a special four-nation tournament in December before the African Cup of Nations for Ghanaians to watch and cheer their compatriots at the Accra Sports Stadium," he said.

The GFA executive member stressed that the friendly games were being honoured to prepare the Black Stars not only for next year's Cup of Nations tournament but also the World Cup in 2010 to be hosted by South Africa.

"We have to prepare early and prepare well, we don't want to be caught unaware so the GFA and the players are being groomed for the challenges ahead," he added.

The Black Stars, under Coach Claude Le Roy have so far played seven matches, won four, drew two and lost one against Brazil.

Meanwhile, the Black Queens are also scheduled to travel to the United States to continue their preparations for the Women's World Cup. They would play Japan and later take on Italy.