Nigeria is now the topmost African basketball country courtesy of the latest FIBA World ranking released on Wednesday, Extrasportsnigeria.com reports.
Nigeria finished second place in the AfroBasket 2017 for Men held in Tunisia last month which has seen Nigeria climb to the top spot in Africa and 26th in the world.
Despite winning the AfroBasket men in 2015, Nigeria was still not first on the continent but a sustained progress by the new board has seen Nigeria climb to the enviable number one position in Africa.
The innovative game-based ranking factors in results from official games played by 153 national teams and would be updated after every window of qualifiers and following the conclusion of top official FIBA competitions.
The new ranking is based on results of games ranging from regional pre-qualifiers all the way to the FIBA Basketball World Cup Final, and includes the Olympic Basketball Tournament as well as the Continental Cups. The previous ranking was purely competition-based and only took into account the final standings of tournaments.
Though, dropping 10 points from the 2016 ranking after the Olympic Games in Rio, Nigeria with 211.3 points is Africa’s best team, her silver medal in Tunisia notwithstanding and leaving basketball power house Angola (198.7) in second place in Africa and 33rd in the world while Senegal (178.2) are third on the continent and 36th on the world ladder while reigning Africa champions Tunisia (119.9) and Egypt (110.4) are fourth and fifth in Africa but 45th and 48th respectively in the world.
Other Africa countries in the top 10 ranking are Cote d’Ivoire 6th (65), Morocco 7th (68), Cameroon 8th (69), Mali 9th (73) and Central Africa Republic 10th (77).
Top of the world ranking remains USA (819.6), followed by Spain (693.2), Serbia (641.0) while France (634.9) and Argentina (615.5) are in fourth and fifth place.
According to the new ranking system by FIBA, the basic principle is simple: 1,000 basis points are awarded in each game, with the two teams earning a share of these according to the margin of victory or defeat. Weightings are added on a round basis meaning that, when a team progresses through a top official FIBA competition, its wins are worth more with every round it plays.
FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann said, “The new ranking was devised with our new calendar clearly in mind. We are pleased to offer more teams – 153 of them, compared to 91 previously – a ranking that can be updated after every window of the Qualifiers so that national teams, fans and their national federations can follow their progress on a more regular basis. Prior to the change, the rankings already proved to be among the most popular pages on FIBA.basketball and we expect there will be even more debating and conversations taking place following the implementation of this new one.”