How Super Eagles draws against Lesotho, Zimbabwe reduced Nigeria’s FIFA ranking

THE Federation International Football Association’s (FIFA) recent ranking of countries’ men’s football teams for the month of November showed that Nigeria’s Super Eagles dropped from the 40th to the 42nd position they held since September. 

Data shows that the drop is connected to their November performance.

The ICIR had reported that Super Eagles struggled to force a draw against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, which ended 1-1, during the African continent qualifying series for the 2024 World Cup.

The Super Eagles drawn matches affected the drop in the Super Eagles ranking, resulting in a minus (-)16.4 after subtraction from the 1490.49 previous cumulative points they garnered in the month of October, now leaving them with 1474.44 points. 

In April, the Super Eagles ranked 40th but improved in June to 39th position, which they maintained in July; by September, they were back to 40th. 

Conversely, both Lesotho and Zimbabwe moved up in the recent FIFA ranking in November; the former earned 13.09 to move from 153th to 148th with a cumulative points of 1047.29 while the latter leapfrogged from 125th to 124th with a cumulative points of 1144 with a positive 6.00.

More poor performance may push the country’s senior men’s national team down in FIFA ranking which was introduced in 1992.

How FIFA ranks countries 

The world governing football body uses The Elo calculation method, which adds and subtracts points for individual matches to and from a team’s existing point total.

The formula for the Elo method is P = Pbefore + I * (W – We).

How Elo method works

Countries’ points which are added or subtracted are determined by the relative strength of the two opponents, including the logical expectation that teams higher in the ranking should fare better against teams lower in the ranking.

The formula for the SUM algorithm is as follows:

P = Pbefore + I * (W – We)

What Each letter represents

Pbefore: Points before the match

I: importance of match

I= 05 Friendly matches played outside of International Match Calendar windows

I= 10 Friendly matches played during International Match Calendar windows

I= 15 Group phase matches of Nations League competitions

I= 25 Play-off and final matches of Nations League competitions

I= 25 Qualification matches for Confederations final competitions and for FIFA World Cup final 


I= 35 Confederation final competition matches up until the QF stage 

I= 40 Confederation final competition matches from the QF stage onwards; all FIFA Confede-

rations Cup matches

I= 50 FIFA World Cup final competition matches up until QF stage 

I= 60 FIFA World Cup final competition matches from QF stage onwards.

W: result of the match

1 = win; 0.5 = draw; 0 = defeat

We: expected result of the match 

We = 1 / (10(-dr/600) + 1)

With dr=difference in ratings of the two playing teams, i.e. dr = [Pbefore of Team A – Pbefore of Team B

    Example: Team A has 1300 points before the match and wins a continental qualifier against team B that has 1500 points.

    For team A the formula is: P=1300+25*(1–(1/(10 exp (-(1300–1500)/600) +1)))

    For team B the formula is: P = 1500 + 25 * (0- (1 / (10 exp (-(1500-1300)/600) + 1)))

    Thus, team A wins 17 points and has P = 1317 points after the match. Team B loses the same amount of points and thus ends up with 1483 points after the match.

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