The misgivings many football fans have for the monthly FIFA rankings got even worse after the Super Eagles surprisingly dropped nine places in the November edition released on Thursday.

The anticipation for many was that the Eagles will take some notches upward having finished the World Cup qualifying series unbeaten and then beating two-time world champions, Argentina 4-2 in an international friendly.

With the reverse being the case and the attendant hue and cry, Bounce Sports attempts to explain the complicated process being used by FIFA for their monthly rankings.

Despite, these explanations, many feel the process is riddled with flaws and does not give the accurate picture of what is on ground in most cases.

The highly subjective ranking formula will confound even the best mathematician.  The formula is based on multiple factors that are summed up as P = M x I x T x C.

M states whether the match is won, lost or drawn. A win fetches three points while a drawn match has a point and a loss is zero.

FIFA Rankings

This is multiplied by I which stands for the importance of the match.

A World Cup qualifying match is given the value of 2.5 as against 1.0 for a friendly match. So, Nigeria’s win over Zambia for instance will be 3 multiplied 2.5 which should fetch seven points.

In the ranking formula, the item T stands for the relative strength of the opposition.

The pertinent question is whether the item T had no bearing when a Nigerian side ranked 41st pummeled the fourth ranked Argentina in Russia earlier this month.

According to FIFA, “the strength of the opponents is based on the formula: 200 – the ranking position of the opponents.

“As an exception to this formula, the team at the top of the ranking is always assigned the value 200 and the teams ranked 150th and below are assigned a minimum value of 50. The ranking position is taken from the opponents’ ranking in the most recently published FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking”.

So, the points obtained from the match are multiplied by the importance of the match and then the strength of the opposition and the continent involved.

Most football analysts have often kicked against the FIFA ranking claiming that it is disproportional and does not often represent the relative strength of teams.


FIFA has had to adjust the yardsticks.

According to FIFA’s explanations, the basic logic of the “calculation is simple: any team that does well in world football wins points which enable it to climb the world ranking.

It is also understood that FIFA is not calculating the ‘results and rankings on a hypothetical basis’.

The world football governing body explained that the ranking is not based solely on current results, but older results have impact on recent scores.

“It’s simply an accumulated depreciation over the past years…meaning that as some matches grew older, they are devalued according to a calculating scheme.

The more you look, the less you see!