ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda, having not played competitively since Group F 2012 World Cup Qualifiers in November, have dropped four places on the latest Coca Cola FIFA World Rankings published Wednesday.
The country, ranked 83 in the previous publication following victories over Haiti and USVI, are now ranked 87, sitting between Finland and Northern Ireland who are ranked 86 and 88, respectively.
General Secretary of Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Gordon “Banks” Derrick, when contacted, was untroubled by the slight drop, saying that once competitive matches resume, the country’s rise on the world stage is expected to continue.
“I think we are still ideally positioned so it is just for us to push forward. It is just for us to start to play again and pick up good results and we will continue to climb which is all part of our plan so we can get into that top 70,” he said.
“From there, as we have always been preaching, it will open up all the doors that are necessary for our players to play at the highest level around the world.”
Derrick added that the FA is currently seeking to confirm a number of international friendly encounters for the senior national team ahead of next June’s semi-final fixture against the USA.
“The problem is there are only two official FIFA dates between now and the next World Cup (and) that is in February and June 1 so all the rest are unofficial dates so we are asking persons but they have been hesitant to want to play unless they have their full quota of players available,” he said.
“We have a few inquiries out and I wouldn’t want to call any names but there are a few from the Caribbean region, South Americans to even some African teams and Europe, but we are just waiting to see if we can get a response from them and to see if they are available,” Derrick added
Asked if the FA has had requests from players living outside of Antigua & Barbuda that are eligible to represent the nation, Derrick confirmed they have had a few. He added, however, that he expects there are more to come.
“We have just had like two or three from England also but we are now checking on them. We are doing our due diligence to see what quality they are and where they play, but I would expect that very early in the New Year, by January, is when we will probably start to get a few more inquiries and we should have a better word on that as to where we are with that.”
Trinidad and Tobago were the biggest jumpers from the CFU, as they are up 10 places to 76 in the world, while Guyana moved six places up to 91 in the world.
The Caribbean’s number one team, Jamaica, dropped seven places to 54, while Haiti is down three to 81.
Neighbours St Kitts & Nevis moved up one place to 116 in the latest rankings.
Spain continue to dominate the international rankings in the number one spot, followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Uruguay and England who round off the top five.
Brazil are currently ranked sixth and are followed by Portugal, Croatia, Italy and Argentina who round off the top 10.
The next Coca Cola FIFA Ranking will be published on January 18.