FIFA/Coca Cola rankings…Guyanese National Men’s Team at 166th

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One of the world’s most loved sports has come to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the FIFA/Coca Cola Rankings have seen little to no changes, with the Guyanese National Men’s Team remaining ranked at 166th position.

With the Golden Jaguars playing a string of international games in the last quarter of 2019, much had been expected to be declared in the rankings, reflecting the fair performances that the National Team had recorded during that time.

Guyana’s last international game was a 1-0 loss to Jamaica’s ‘Reggae Boys’ in the CONCACAF Nations’ League. Before that, the local boys had defeated Aruba and Antigua and Barbuda, and were scheduled to take on Barbados in a home and away fixture on March 29th and 31st respectively, in hopes of qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, those plans were prematurely halted as the Coronavirus made its way to the Caribbean region in early March.

Given the National Team’s inability to make an international appearance this year, their rankings remained at 166 out of 210 countries, with 988 points. Belgium currently occupy the top spot with 1765 points.

“A whole raft of international fixtures, including qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup™ and other major tournaments, were postponed, while dates were redrawn for showpiece men’s events such as the Olympic Football Tournament, CONMEBOL Copa America and UEFA EURO.

Amid this upheaval, the Ranking was impacted by just four matches – all friendlies – and, as such, remains all but identical to the previous edition. The solitary change sees South Sudan move into joint-168th position with Bermuda, after the latter dropped a Ranking point thanks to a 2-0 defeat in Jamaica (48th, unchanged) on 11 March.

The five other teams involved in friendly matches since the global ladder’s last update were Panama (played twice – 81st, unchanged), Uzbekistan (85th, unchanged), Belarus (87th, unchanged), Guatemala (130th, unchanged) and Nicaragua (151st, unchanged),” the FIFA release detailed.

A new system, titled “SUM”, was introduced for the calculation of positions in the world rankings. It relies on adding/subtracting points won or lost for a game to/from the previous points totals, rather than averaging game points over a given time period, as in the previous version of the World Ranking.

The points which are added or subtracted are partially determined by the relative strength of the two opponents, including the logical expectation that teams higher in the ranking should fare better against teams lower in the ranking.

While the next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking is expected to be published on June 2020, much cannot be expected to change, as the coronavirus continues to hold the world hostage.