By Rodney Edmond Michael
The next FIFA world football ranking is due to be released on the 6th of June 2014, and the great news is our darling Leone Stars will make a considerable jump from 484 points to 565 points, and in terms of position from our current 71 in the world to mid 50s…ahead of countries who continuously and recently have qualified for their continental and global competitions such as in Africa, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, and in the rest of the world. World Cup qualifiers Australia, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Korea republic and Uzbekistan.
The ranking works in such a way that it takes into consideration a four-year average with only 20% of the 4th year, then 30% of the third year, 50% of the 2nd year and 100% of the final year – all added and then divided by 4 to give you the average.
Mathematicians will tell you that what all these calculations imply is Sierra Leone has been extremely consistent over the last 4 years…especially over the last 3 years, and if you click on Sierra Leone in the FIFA ranking one would realise that in 2011, our average points was 143.19 and 20% of that gave us our average weight of 28.64.
In 2012, our average points was 408.5, a massive rise when we become the world’s second fastest movers, and average weight today, which is 30% of the average point is 122.5.
In 2013, we did well even though our average points dropped to 269.75, which meant our average weight, 50% of our average points was 134.88.
However, our average points in 2014 could be wonderful and probably the best ever for our country, and could see us become the fastest movers, because with only 2 games played, and with potentially 8 games to go we are already on 198.23 points, which means our average weight is the same as the full value, 100%, of the current year is taken as your average weight.
Our total average weight currently, as per the last reading in May is 484, but our next reading on June 6th will be 565.
The question then is with such consistency, and rise in the ranking, which could potentially see us in the top 50 or 40 in the world, why have we failed and continues to be outsiders for qualification for major tournaments like the Nations Cup and World Cup?
The debate continues but in my view, it is time we have an independent management committee of the national team, well structured and with detailed terms of reference and a degree of independence to handle all aspects of all national teams, especially Leone Stars. That for me is the way forward, and composition can be discussed between the Ministry and FA and the role and responsibility of the committee can be determined only by both the Ministry and the FA.
This committee can then work on squad options and potentials targeting top rated players worldwide with Sierra Leonean heritage and convincing them to boost the squad, which will give the coach added options.
In addition, the committee can then concentrate on better and adequate preparations for the national team with the intent of improving on what they have so far. These, for me, are the two major areas we need to look at and work on to create the right environment for our boys prior and during qualifiers.
If we want to convert our ranking to qualification, and if we want to continue progressing and to ensure we provide the best for the boys and create an atmosphere to qualify, then the FA and Ministry must come together and consider this option, as it is the only way we could have peace over our national teams and develop these teams to qualify for major tournaments.
Well done to the technical team and the boys for the progress in the rankings and good luck on the path to qualification, which is still a long and very rough road ahead.