The Indian men’s national football team on Thursday entered the top 100 of the FIFA world rankings after 21 years.
The last time India were in the top 100 was in 1996, with the 94th spot in February of that year being the country’s best ever FIFA ranking.
Even though India didn’t play any official match in the month of April, the country entered the top 100 due to triumphs over Cambodia and Myanmar in March, both away wins.
India are now placed in the 100th spot alongside Nicaragua, Lithuania and Estonia, and are ranked 11th among the countries affiliated to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The Indian team has secured 11 victories in the last 13 matches, including an unofficial match against Bhutan, scoring 31 goals in the process.
Getting into the top 100 can’t be termed as a true victory for India. It was Malawi who lost two matches against lower ranked country Madagascar in the 2018 African Nations Championship qualification, both by solitary goals, which saw them fall from 100 to 113 in the global rankings.
As a result, each nation ranked between 101st to113th in the previous month saw a one-place rise automatically.
The system of ranking done by FIFA is a rudimentary formula and lacks the access beyond win/loss/draw. It doesn’t count the other aspects like goal difference and home advantage, which is more importance in football than any other sport.
Since the ranking is done on the average of reward points and not the raw total, playing a low number of matches, but of high stakes, helps. For instance, Europe and South Africa are being rewarded more as compared to the countries playing high number of low stake matches.
The FIFA world rankings do not tell the real position of a country. The ground realities are often very different. These rankings work on a very basic principle and India should not hang on to them as a measurement of their global standing in the sport.
India will next face Lebanon in an international friendly match on June 7, before taking on Kyrgyzstan in a 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying clash six days later.