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Super Eagles end 2016 as Africa’s eighth best team

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Nigeria's squad (back L-R) defender Kenneth Omeruo, defender Elderson Uwa Echiejile, goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defender Leon Balogun, defender William Troost-Ekong, midfielder John Obi Mikel, (L-R) midfielder Victor Moses, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, forward Oghenekaro Etebo, forward Alex Iwobi and forward Kelechi Iheanacho pose for a group picture ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup African zone group B qualifying football match between Nigeria and Algeria at the Akwa Ibom State Stadium in Uyo on November 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Nigeria’s squad (back L-R) defender Kenneth Omeruo, defender Elderson Uwa Echiejile, goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defender Leon Balogun, defender William Troost-Ekong, midfielder John Obi Mikel, (L-R) midfielder Victor Moses, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, forward Oghenekaro Etebo, forward Alex Iwobi and forward Kelechi Iheanacho pose for a group picture ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup African zone group B qualifying football match between Nigeria and Algeria at the Akwa Ibom State Stadium in Uyo on November 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

The Super Eagles will end the 2016 football year as the eighth-best team in Africa, according to the latest rankings released by the world football governing body, FIFA, yesterday.

The position, according to football followers, mirrors the achievements of the team since Gernot Rohr became Super Eagles’ manager.

The ranking also see Senegal ending the year as the highest ranked African national team, edging Cup of Nations title-holders, Cote d’Ivoire for the top spot in the December listings.

Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco complete the top 10 best African teams as compiled by FIFA.

All the countries listed, apart from Nigeria, will be among the 16 contenders for the Cup of Nations title when Gabon host the 2017 tournament from January 14 to February 5.

Other four qualified teams for the African tourney, including Mali, Cameroun, Guinea-Bissau and Uganda, are among the top 20 ranked teams.

Gabon-bound Togo and Zimbabwe and the host nation fall outside the elite teams.

The Senegalese side packed with Europe-based professionals, including Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Keita Balde of Lazio, completed their Cup of Nations qualifiers with a perfect six-win record.

The Nigerian side would be expected to continue their winning streak to remain among the best in Africa when the World Cup qualifiers resume across Africa next year.


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