July 13, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.
Sierra Leone joined Malawi and Ethiopia as the world’s worst movers in the July rankings of the football world governing body, FIFA.
Sierra Leone and the two others all dropped out of the top 27 on the continent, which implies they will now play in the preliminary round of the 2018 World Cup qualifying series.
The latest rankings saw Sierra Leone drop 28 places down on the log, with the likes of FYR Macedonia, Antigua and Barbuda, Malawi, Azerbaijan and Lithuania all sitting above the country.
This poor ranking has militated against Sierra Leone having a bye into the second round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. The draw for the qualifying series for the World Cup in Russia will be held in St. Petersburg on 25 July.
With Zimbabwe having been disqualified from the World Cup, it leaves 53 of the 54 member associations in the preliminary draw.
The lowest 26 ranked sides on the continent in the July rankings will play over two legs in October 2015. The winners of those ties will advance to round two where they will join the remaining 27 highest-ranked teams from the region and face off in another two-legged play off.
The winners of these games then move into Africa’s final qualification round where five groups of four teams will meet both home and away. The winner of each group will qualify for Russia 2018.
Meanwhile, Algeria remains the top ranked African team on the continent and has climbed two places to number 19 globally.