Africans continue their charge
© AFP

The recently concluded CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana has clearly left its mark on the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. While there have been no changes at the top as Argentina, Brazil and Italy remain out in front with just a few points separating them, two African teams - Ghana (14th, up 29) and Cameroon (17th, up 8) - have broken into the top 20.

Fellow Cup of Nations semi-finalists Egypt (29th, up 6), who went on to successfully defend their title, and Côte d'Ivoire (24th, up 14) have also made progress up the ranking. Furthermore, Ghana's 14th place represents an all-time best and makes them Africa's top-ranked team of the moment.

Nigeria (45th, down 26) have plummeted after failing to meet expectations at the Cup of Nations and have gone from being the top African side in the ranking to only the continent's sixth best.

The biggest movers in February are all inside the top 100, namely Australia (38th, up 10), Latvia (72nd, up 13), Bahrain (83rd, up 17), Thailand (92nd, up 15) and Guatemala (94th, up 11). Ghana are not the only team to have achieved their best-ever position since the ranking was introduced in August 1993 as they are joined by Greece (10th, up 1), Moldova (49th, up 4), New Caledonia (115th, up 2) and the Turks and Caicos Islands (158th, up 21).

In the lower reaches of the ranking, Belize (176th, up 25) also deserve a mention after clambering off bottom place after their first victory in almost six years.

A total of 117 international 'A' matches have been played in the last few weeks, the most important of which besides the Africa Cup of Nations (32 matches) were CONCACAF and AFC qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup™ (17 matches). The other 68 fixtures were friendlies.