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‘FIFA Ranking Not Important To Me’ – Ex-Eagles Star Okpara 

‘FIFA Ranking Not Important To Me’ – Ex-Eagles Star Okpara 

Former Nigeria international Godwin Okpara has played down the latest FIFA ranking which saw the Super Eagles drop two places from 34th to 36th.

Speaking on Brila FM, the France 1998 World Cup and AFCON 2000 star said to him the rankings does not count.

He stated that what is important to him is how the Eagles qualify and do well at major tournaments.

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“I don’t pay attention on the ranking, what I pay attention on is how we qualify and win whatever tournament we are playing.

“If we are playing Nations Cup how are we going to win it? playing qualifiers how are we going to qualify? I’m not even looking at our FIFA ranking for me it is not important or is there any prize for it?

“What I’m focus on is how we are going to qualify for Nations Cup and World Cup.”

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  • It is obvious Okpara has been away for a long time. Ranking is very important as FIFA used it in seeding teams for World Cup qualifiers. It counts.

  • These old schs will not allow us rest. Who told Okpara ranking does not count?

  • MONKEY POST 3 years ago

    It is important we rank high and it is also important we qualify and do well too. They are all important. Atleast for PR sake and international investors before putting their money in teams, they take ranking seriously.

  • MONKEY POST 3 years ago

    Oh!!! I remember 1994 when we were ranked 5th in the world and no 1 in Africa. I mean the days of uche okafor, uche okechukwu, siasia, finidi geoge, alloy agwu, stephen keshi, eguavon, rashidi yekini, ben iroha. Mehn…those were the good old days. And you need to see the way the international communities perceive us and treated us. I mean the kind of thing the ranking does to our spych and the spych of our opponents was unbelievable!!!

  • The ranking get as it be. Imagine Belgium lost semifinal,final of European nation league and yet are still top of the ranking. When you see countries like Iran, Wales etc ranked in the first 20, who take that serious.

  • NaijaEaglesFan 3 years ago

    If and when we will be able to convince all these companies operating in Nigeria to invest/support or sponsor football in the country, then paying attention to rankings and expecting companies to be attracted to the country because of our position on FIFA rankings will be forgotten.

  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    I said the same thing here yesterday. FIFA ranking is not very important if we put our team in shape.

    If our team can’t compete with any team then we should be more worried about the FIFA ranking.

    As I can see now, many of us are afraid that Eagles can not play with the best teams but how can we win trophies if Super Eagles can only play with small teams?

    We played against CAR and we were celebrating as if we won the Afcon trophy.

    I don’t think we are ready to go to any tournament. Truth is bitter.

    Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

    • Omo9ja so you want us to cry.

      • Omo9ja 3 years ago

        I want us to cry kę? In what way sir?

        We have no business at the Afcon and world cup if we can’t beat the big teams in Africa.

        We have no business even here in Africa if we can’t beat Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, Ghana and Cameroon.

        It is better to stay at home rather than going to the world cup and Afcon to make the numbers. The weak teams like Madagascar and CAR we can’t be bold enough to say we will beat them so, what is the point. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Jude Esedebe 3 years ago

    The Super Eagles of 1994 were great and ranked 5th but in reality they weren’t actually the “5th Best Team In The World”.

    Fifa ranking does not reflect how good a team is and it is not actually important in evaluating a team.

    The Super Eagles were 5th not because they are the best top 5 in the world but because of the way the FIFA ranking system was then; 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points if a team loses in FIFA sanctioned matches.

    The losses in pre-World Cup friendlies (0-2 to Romania, 1-3 to Sweden) weren’t FIFA sanctioned tournaments so they did not count in the ranking.
    And a top 5 team in the world couldn’t have performed so badly in the two matches and also Super Eagles could not reach the quarter final in the world cup.

    Quarter final feat was achieved by Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal without ranking top 5 in the world in Fifa ranking.

    In 1992–1994 Fifa had a simplistic scoring system, but flawed in the sense that teams are of different strengths hence wins/losses cannot be accurately correlated.

    The modern scoring system takes care of these factors by introducing coefficients in it’s scoring system.

    From December ’92 (when the scoring system began) till September ’94 (about the time we got to 5th) Westerhof’s Super Eagles were red hot on the African continent but not too fantastic in the world stage, though had a decent win:loss ratio at the World Cup (2:2).

    Their only loss in African was against Ivory Coast in April ’93). They had 8 wins and 2 draws within that period at the AFCON ’94 and during the WCQ ’94.

    8 wins, 2 draws and a single loss. Few teams in the World could boast of such a winning streak in their various federations. This performance was followed up by a good WC94 outing (2:2).

    The losses in pre-World Cup friendlies (0-2 to Romania, 1-3 to Sweden) weren’t FIFA sanctioned tournaments so they did not count.

    Hence most of the good performances of the Super Eagles of 94 were based and judged on the good exceptional outcome in African continent.
    But at the world stage it became an average performance.

    And that is the story behind why Super Eagles becomes the 5th best team in the World.
    The world cup showed that in reality we are not the 5th best despite Fifa 5th place ranking.

    • OmoEsan 3 years ago

      Well said Jude.

      Thanks for this piece. Very enlightening.

    • pompei 3 years ago

      Nice one.

    • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

      I disagree with you that they were average at the global stage. They were only minutes away from eliminating a WorldCup powerhouse Italy. If they had scrapped past Italy they would’ve made it all the way to the final. A team that produced 4 African footballers of the year is a world class team therefore, their ranking as the 5th best team in the world in 94 is no fluke. Don’t forget that they also won the Afro Asian cup after the WorldCup. The only blemish to that team was the failure to participate in the AFCON in 96 and 98. That SuperEagles generation in my opinion is the best collection of talents Africa has ever seen. Most of them went on to play for Juventus, Inter, AC Milan, Dortmund, Everton, PSG etc. they dominated Africa for the most part of a decade.

      • pompei 3 years ago

        A team that was ranked 5th in the world was eliminated in the second round of the world cup in ridiculous fashion. Failing to properly manage a one-goal lead, and conceding at the last minute, and then collapsing in extra time.
        It was up to the squad to validate their ranking with results, and they failed. Bottom line.
        What posterity will remember is that they failed to make it to the world cup quarterfinal, a feat Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana have accomplished. How can we then be certain the 1994 set is the best Africa has ever produced? These teams that made it to the world cup quarterfinal were more successful on the biggest stage where it matters most.
        Yes, the 1994 set had potential, but potential that is not realized means nothing. Instead of our boys to make hay while the sun was still shining, they chose to quarrel with and sabotage each other. That was their choice.
        If they had been united and avoided petty squabbles within the team, like the unbelievable refusal to cooperate with Yekini for instance, they probably could have gone all the way. They probably could have won the 1994 world cup. But they failed, and their failure is their burden to carry.

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