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Kenya up 10 places to sit 78th in FIFA rankings

Harambee Stars group photo before their friendly match against DR Congo on March 26 at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – The national football team Harambee Stars climbed a massive 10 places in the latest FIFA rankings released on Thursday to sit 78th globally with 428 points.

This is the second best rise for Kenya in nine years after occupying the 68th position in December 2008 when Harambee Stars was under the leadership of Francis Kimanzi who is now the head coach of Mathare United.

This was as a result of Harambee Stars’ 1-1 draw against neighbors Uganda at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos in a friendly match played on March 24 before beating DR Congo 2-1 at the same venue four days later.

With both Uganda and DR Congo ranked above Kenya, it was an advantage to Harambee Stars side as they stretched their unbeaten run to 10 straight matches under the tutelage of Stanley Okumbi.

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga celebrates his second goal during the international friendly match against DR Congo on March 26, 2017 at teh Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

However, despite the draw, Uganda who are the best ranked nation in the CECAFA region went up two places to sit 72nd worldwide while DR Congo dropped three places to 41st.

In the continent, Kenya occupy 15th position, a big rise from 33rd they held last month as Egypt, the losing finalist at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations are leading Africa on position 19th globally, followed by Senegal who are 30th in the world, African champions Cameroon are third and 33rd in the world while Nigeria who are 40th in the world closes the top five.

-Brazil top FIFA rankings for first time since 2010-

Brazil’s Neymar celebrates after scoring against Paraguay during their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier match, in Sao Paulo, on March 28, 2017

Meanwhile, Brazil surged to the top of the FIFA world rankings for the first time in seven years, made all the sweeter as it usurped great rivals Argentina.

It caps a terrific week for forward Neymar and Brazil — last week they became the first country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, their latest step on the road to redemption after the embarrassment and heartache of their World Cup failure on home soil in 2014.

Brazil were dumped off top spot after their elimination from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Their new surge is in contrast to Argentina and Neymar’s Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi, whose country are in danger of missing out on next year’s World Cup. They will not be able to call on their star man for three of their four remaining qualification matches because of suspension.

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Third in the newly released rankings are world champions Germany, followed by Chile and Colombia.

Switzerland enter the top 10, up to ninth, with former number ones Spain clinging on in 10th.

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