Brunei ranked 190th in latest FIFA world rankings

Fadhil Yunus

The Brunei Darussalam national football team remain in 190th place in the FIFA world rankings, according to the latest rankings published by the world governing body last week.

The Wasps accumulated a total of 903.9 points ahead of Sao Tome and Principe, American Samoa and Samoa and trailed behind Bhutan, Liechtenstein and Bangladesh.

The national team previously ranked 189th in both April and May entries this year, their best position in more than three years since they attained 184th place in October 2017.

Brunei, whose last competitive meet was against Mongolia in the first round of World Cup qualifying in June 2019, dropped to 190th place when the rankings were released last month.

Since then, the national team underwent a series of training sessions in line with the FIFA calendar window late last year as football gradually resumed following the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a number of players earning their first call-ups.

Various local coaches had also held interim head coach positions to lead and oversee the training sessions. Earlier in May last year, former national head coach Paul Smalley agreed to part ways with the football association by mutual consent.

In February this year, newly-appointed national head coach Datuk K Rajagobal oversaw training for the first time and was accompanied by assistant coach Aminuddin Jumat, goalkeeping coach Atsushi Hanita and fitness coach Matus Bozik.

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

Based on the continental rankings allocated for teams affiliated under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) only, Brunei lie 42nd place out of 46 entries ahead of regional rivals Timor Leste, Pakistan, Guam and Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic of Iran replaced Japan as the top ranked nation among AFC member associations, the continental governing body for Asia.

The Cheetahs of Asia maintained a perfect start to their World Cup third round qualifying campaign following successive victories over Syria and Iraq in Group ‘A’.

Excluding Australia, Vietnam represents the best-ranked nation among Asian Football Federation (AFF) member associations in 95th place, down three places from 92nd.

The Golden Star Warriors made history after making their maiden appearance in the third round of World Cup qualifying, their deepest run in the competition.

The AFF representatives provided a good account of themselves against much-fancied opposition despite slipping to consecutive defeats against Saudi Arabia and Australia in Group ‘B’.

Park Hang-seo charges are expected to play People’s Republic of China, who sit bottom of the table, next at the Sharjah Stadium in United Arab Emirates on October 7.

Meanwhile, Belgium maintained their status as the world-best team in the overall rankings followed by Brazil and England, who matched their best-ever position when they were ranked third in September 2012.