Soccer News of Sunday, 31 August 2003
The latest Fifa world rankings have given Nigeria and Ghana little cause for optimism, less than a month before the start of the women's World Cup. Nigeria's Falcons, the reigning African champions, are ranked 23rd while the Black Queens of Ghana occupy 52nd position.
Both countries are currently preparing for the World Cup which gets underway in the United States on 21 September.
Nigeria will play in Group A where they face defending champions USA, Sweden and North Korea.
Ghana are in Group D with Australia, Russia and China, losing finalists at the 1999 World Cup.
The United States lead the Fifa women's rankings, ahead of Olympic champions Norway and European champions Germany.
It is widely expected that the upcoming World Cup will considerably change the look of the rankings tree, both at the top and further below.
The Fifa women's world rankings are determined on the basis of a performance rating that takes account of many factors.
Fifa considers results, home advantage, importance of each match, and the difference in the strength of the two teams involved.
The inaugural rankings presented in mid-July 2003 were calculated using a comprehensive database of over 3,000 matches played between 1971 and the present.
The next set of rankings, which are published four times a year, will be released on 24 October 2003.