Seychelles stumble to 200th on Fifa ranking | 09 January 2020
● Ranked 53rd on Caf’s grid
After a series of unsuccessful performances in 2019, the Seychelles football national selection have now slipped to the 200th position on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association ranking, their worse ever ranking in the past 30 years.
The position also ranks Seychelles 53rd in Africa, according to the latest Confédération Africaine de Football (Caf) ranking.
A member of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) which gathers football playing nations in Southern Africa, Seychelles is equally at the bottom of the group, featuring 14 member countries, namely Angola, Botswana, the Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and associate member Reunion.
In the group, it is Madagascar that has the highest Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) and Caf ranking, followed by the Comoros and neighbours Mauritius.
Madagascar is presently holding the 91st spot on the Fifa ranking, while being 21st in Africa.
The Comoros are 133rd in the world, while occupying the 37th spot on the Caf ranking.
As for neighbours Mauritius, they are 172nd on the Fifa ranking, while on the Caf ranking they are 48th overall.
Only Eritrea is below Seychelles on the Caf ranking. They are 54th in Africa and 205th worldwide.
In 2019, Seychelles also competed at regional level, precisely at the 10th Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) held in Mauritius for a regional ranking for the coming four years.
Again, our performance was way below average, ending the tournament without a podium finish.
Seychelles under Gavin Jeanne in 2019
During the first seventh months of 2019, Gavin Jeanne was the one in charge of the national selection and other than the IOIG, the other competitions the team took part in were the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifications, the African Nation Championships and the Cosafa Cup.
Despite not getting a single win, the local selection, with new faces for each match, put up some decent displays from time to time, especially against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the Afcon qualifiers.
At the IOIG in Mauritius, Seychelles’ performance was once again acceptable, despite a lack of basics, including teamwork and fitness.
In their inaugural match, the boys of coach Jeanne managed to hold hosts Mauritius to 1-1 stalemate, before holding giants Madagascar to a 0-0 draw to finish second in their group.
In the semifinal, Seychelles played Reunion whey they lost 0-4, before losing the third-place match and the bronze medal after losing 1-3 to Mayotte.
After the IOIG coach Jeanne was no longer in charge of the team.
Talking about his experience in a previous interview with Sports NATION, coach Jeanne insisted that local players do not belong to the clubs only, but also to the country and he was still urging local clubs for their support.
He explained that on many occasions he felt like giving up, but the public’s reaction at matches, especially against Nigeria revived him, making him more determined than ever to work harder and bring results.
“Support from the public was exceptional. I asked for their support and they brought it. This gave us a big boost to perform better.
“It is also the unity and togetherness within our camp. Physical and technical ability is very important, but is not the only requirement to make any team. Discipline also is very important and this is an area which I stress a lot on. If I feel you do not have the necessary discipline, respect, trust and sense of team spirit, you will be left out, despite of your good physical ability,” he added.
He also showed his disappointment towards the Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) which he said was not supportive, dropping the entire burden on the national team’s management, especially in sorting out the release procedure for players.
“As national team, our job is to identify and train players, while the management helps with logistics,” he noted.
He added that it is time to develop a sense of patriotism and come together for the country, as the national team is not about the coach, but the whole country and its people.
The fourth reign of Jan Mak
Late last year, Dutch coach Jan Mak was called in for his fourth spell as national team coach after his previous involvement in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
Mak was in charge of the team for the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers where the Amavubi of Rwanda thrashed Seychelles 10-0 on aggregate after beating our national selection 3-0 at Stad Linite, before demolishing them 7-0 at the Stade Nyamirambo in Kigali.
Mak was also in charge of the team for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Can) qualifiers against the Bright Stars of South Sudan.
Seychelles lost the away match 1-2 at the Al-Merriekh Stadium in Khartoum, before losing 0-1 at Stad Linite, to lose 1-3 on aggregate.
Next on the roster
The next outing for our national selection will be on Monday January 13 when they head to Bangladesh for the Bangabandhu Gold Cup, also known as The Bangabandhu Gold Cup which is an international football tournament organised by the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) as a tribute to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who is considered as the founding father of Bangladesh.
It has been played sporadically since 1996, and was resurrected in 2015.
Up to 2016, most of the participating countries in the tournament sent their youth national teams, their second teams or club sides.
In 2018, all participating nations sent their first team except the Philippines.
Palestine are the champions after defeating Tajikistan in the 2018 tournament.