Flames 29th in Africa and 122 in the world on FIFA Rankings

* The Flames’ FIFA World Cup 2026 African qualifiers in June, Equatorial Guinea are 16 in Africa and 79th in the world

* New AFCON champions Côte d’Ivoire climb 10 places to 39th in the world and 5th in Africa

Maravi Express

On the FIFA rankings released last Thursday, Malawi Flames are 29th in Africa and 122 in the world — a not so impressive position following their inactivity since November last year in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers.


The Flames also were disadvantaged having failed to qualify for the AFCON Côte d’Ivoire 2023, which was won by the hosts — a triumph that propelled the Elephants to climb 10 places to 39th in the world and 5th in Africa.

The Elephants‘ stellar performance on home soil reflects their impressive showing in the tournament and according to CAFonline,

the latest rankings underscore the impact of recent continental tournaments on the global football landscape, with African teams making significant strides.

While there were no changes in the top ten, several nations from the Confederation of African Football regions made notable strides as Nigeria — the beaten finalists in the AFCON 2023, surged up 14 places to 28th, demonstrating their strong performance in the tournament.

African champions Côte d’Ivoire

However, it was Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) member, Angola who made the most significant leap, climbing 24 spots to 93rd after their impressive run in the competition.

The rise to uncharted territory in the rankings by some of the African sides coincided with Senegal’s breakthrough, with the Teranga Lions reaching their highest-ever position at 17th.

Despite their exit in the Round of 16 against Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal’s strong performance in the AFCON propelled them to new heights.

Other African teams that saw notable improvements include Equatorial Guinea (79th, up 9), COSAFA side South Africa (58th, up 8), Cape Verde (65th, up 8), another COSAFA side Namibia (107th, up 8) and Mali (47th, up 4).

The African Top 20:

1. Morocco (12th)

2. Senegal (17th)

3. Nigeria (28th)

4. Egypt (36th)

5. Côte d’Ivoire (39th)

6. Tunisia (41st)

7. Algeria (43rd)

8. Mali (47th)

9. Cameroon (51st)

10. South Africa (58th)

11. Burkina Faso (61st)

12. DR Congo (63rd)

13. Cape Verde (65th)

14. Ghana (67th)

15. Guinea (76th)

16. Equatorial Guinea (79th)

17. Gabon (84th)

18. Zambia (87th)

19. Uganda (92nd)

20. Angola (93rd).

Equatorial Guinea

The Flames’ FIFA World Cup 2026 African qualifiers in June, Equatorial Guinea are 16 in Africa and 79th in the world, while the other contenders, Tunisia are 6th (41); Namibia 107 in the world, Liberia 152 and São Tomé e Principe 191.

Equatorial Guinea and Tunisia tie on six points after registering two wins in Match Day 1 & 2 in November but Tunisia are at the top having a goal difference of 5 against Equatorial Guinea’s two.

The Flames, who beat Liberia 1-0 away in Monrovia before losing 0-1 at home against Tunisia a few days later, tie on 3 points with Namibia but Namibia are on 2nd position on goal difference.

Equatorial Guinea first overcame Namibia 1-0 and Liberia also 1-0 while Tunisia first beat São Tomé e Principe 4-0 before beating the Flames — with Namibia seeing off Sao Tome e Principe 2-0.

Alongside Equatorial Guinea at the AFCON Côte d’Ivoire 2023 were Tunisia and Namibia and they too need to be treaded carefully as they also most definitely have come out of it with guns blazing.

After June, the next qualifying matches for Flames’ Group H will be in 2025 (March, September, October and November).


The 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup tournament is through a complex qualification as the final — to be hosted jointly by the United States of America, Mexico and Canada — will have 48 participating countries instead of the conventional 32 giving an advantage for Africa to field more teams.

The top team from each group after Match Day 10 shall earn an automatic qualification for the 2026 World Cup finals and additionally, the four best second-placed teams from all nine groups will engage in a continental playoff, determining a single victor who will then proceed to a second and final playoff. 

This final stage will comprise six teams from various confederations, with the top two emerging as qualified participants, ultimately making up the 48 competing teams.

The African qualifiers have Egypt, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Djibouti (Group A); Senegal, Congo DR, Mauritania, Togo, Sudan, South Sudan (Group B); Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Lesotho (Group C).

Group D has Cameroon, Cape Verde, Angola, Libya, Swaziland, Mauritius; Group E (Morocco, Zambia, Congo, Tanzania, Niger, Eritrea; Group F (Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, The Gambia, Burundi, Seychelles; Group G (Algeria, Guinea, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana, Somalia).

Meanwhile, following the conclusion of the 34th edition of the AFCON, the focus has shifted to the next edition, with the preliminary draw for Morocco 2025 scheduled for tomorrow, February 20 in Cairo, Egypt from 12h00 GMT.

According to CAFonline, the preliminary round of will include the eight lowest-ranked teams according to the FIFA ranking — Somalia, Djibouti, São Tomé e Principe, Chad, Mauritius, South Sudan, Liberia and eSwatini.

The matches will be played on home and away basis during the FIFA Window of March 18-26, 2024 whose four 4 winners will join the 44 exempted teams for the group stage.—Reporting by CAFonline & Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express

Weather update