Brunei climb two places in FIFA rankings

Fadhil Yunus

The Brunei Darussalam national football team climbed two places up to 189th in the latest rankings released by world governing body FIFA on Wednesday.

It marked the national team’s lowest position in more than three years since they achieved the ranking of 184th in the world in October 2017.

Brunei fell six places to 190th in the updated rankings a month later and dropped to 196th in the world rankings a year later in October 2018. However, their ranking subsequently improved from November 2018 onwards and stayed at 191st, where they remained until Tuesday.

Prior to the latest ranking, the Wasps have not moved from 191st place since September 2019.

Based on rankings allocated for Asian Football Confederation (AFC) teams only, Brunei moved one place up to 41st out of 46 entries ahead of Mongolia, Timor Leste, Guam, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Brunei national team during a training session. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

The Wasps, who accumulated 903.9 points, trailed Dominica by 0.36 points and are ahead of Sao Tome and Principe by 0.59 points, a marked improvement to the 15 and 10-point deficit from the two teams respectively when the countries were last ranked in February.

Following the implementation of Level 5 of the de-escalation plan last month, the national team played two friendly matches against domestic club Kasuka FC and a Brunei Super League (BSL) all-star side.

Brunei are aiming for a berth in the group stage of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, which is scheduled to take place in December this year.

To book a spot, it is likely that they would have to get past Timor Leste who denied them a place in the last regional tournament in 2018 in the qualifying stage.

Excluding Australia, Vietnam asserted their superiority as the best ranked team among AFF members after climbing one place up to 92nd.

Thailand are second best with a global ranking of 106th followed by Philippines (125th), Myanmar (139th), Malaysia (153rd), Singapore (159th), Indonesia (173rd), Cambodia (174th) and Laos (185th).

Brunei and Timor Leste (196th) completed the list among the teams affiliated with AFF.

The FIFA rankings, which rank national football teams across various confederations through a point system basis, were released for the second time this year. The next rankings are expected to be released in May, two weeks before the start of the re-scheduled Euro 2020.