Nigeria Climbs to 61st on Fifa Rankings as Female Athlete Bags 8-Year Ban

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have climbed up six places to 61st on the latest Fifa world rankings released Thursday, June 2.

The three-time African champions reached their best ranking this year after back-to-back wins in international friendly matches played over the past week.

Nigeria defeated West African neighbours Mali 1-0 in a friendly played in Rouen, France, last Friday, before taming the Red Lions of Luxembourg 3-1 four days later.

The Salisu Yusuf-led team also moved up two places on the continent to 12th, coming in behind Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Congo DR, Guinea, Cameroon and Congo.

There’s a change in the top five ranked sides in the world as Lionel Messi’s Argentina retains top spot ahead of Belgium, though Colombia and World champions Germany have pushed Copa America holders Chile down to fifth.

The next Fifa world ranking will be released July 7.

Meanwhile, Nigerian athletics is in the headlines after a female athlete, 400m runner, Tosin Adeloye, was named among the 12 athletes banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) following various drug offences.

Adeloye, 20, was handed an eight-year ban after an in-competition test she took at the Warri Relays on July 24, 2015 turned out positive, Guardian reports.

The Ekiti State-born athlete, who represented Nigeria at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, will sit out the sport from July 24, 2015 to July 23, 2023.

She also flew the country’s flag at the 11th African Games (AG) in Brazzaville, Congo.

This latest incident adds to the growing list of Nigerian athletes trapped in the global drug rave, amidst the country’s declining fortunes in the sport.

Female thrower, Sorochukwu Ihuefo, was banned for eight years, while Vivian Chukwuemeka, another female thrower, fetched a life ban by the IAAF in 2012, even as five Nigerian athletes, who participated at the African Games in Congo Brazzaville, tested positive to banned substances.

World Athletics has been dogged by widespread cheating amongst athletes, leading to last year’s suspension of Russia by the IAAF.

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