Steady Progress – of the wrong kind

A lack of action on the field for our group of unfortunates hasn’t meant there is nothing to report from a Worst in the World perspective. On the contrary, that lack of action means that all seven teams currently ranked at the foot of the world rankings. have been steadily clocking up additional months in that position. As a consequence each nation is climbing up the all-time worst in the world rankings.

For the uninitiated, this list doesn’t imply that the current worst teams are any better or worse than their predecessors on the field – they have all spent time as officially the worst national teams in the world after all. What it does do, however, is log how many published world rankings each nation sat at the bottom of. And this current lack of action for certainly six of the seven nations means they are adding to their tally significantly.

Here’s a brief rundown of what this all means for each of our worst in the world nations.

Anguilla

Anguilla have now been ranked worst in the world for 72 months in total in their footballing history – not all in their current plight however, they have been in this position before., however their current spell at the foot of the rankings has lasted for 2 years now. This total puts them 4th overall in terms of time spent at the bottom of the world. Given they have no scheduled fixtures and are unlikely to in the near future, it seems highly likely that they will overhaul San Marino to go 3rd in the list by August this year.

There will be no Caribbean Cup this year – Anguilla played and lost their two Caribbean Cup group matches last spring to Guyana and Puerto Rico – and they won’t see World Cup action until probably 2019. So unless a friendly is arranged – which the smaller Caribbean nations only do sporadically – then Anguilla seem to be stuck for the time being.

Djibouti

The small East African nation has, like Anguilla, at least had some on-field action in the last 12 months. In their case they finished last in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group, losing all of their games. There had been the possibility of a CECAFA Cup in December last year, which could have pitted Djibouti against one of its fellow East African worst in the world colleagues Eritrea and Somalia, but this was cancelled.

So Djibouti continue to climb our charts. Having broken into the top ten at the back end of last year they have now jumped over the Turks & Caicos Islands into 9th place all-time.

Bahamas

The Bahamas baffle me, they really do. A nation with a strong sporting pedigree – notably in Athletics – which is also a regular global player in Beach Soccer hasn’t played a national team fixture for two years now, when they lost both of their World Cup qualifying play-offs with Bermuda.

They didn’t enter the last Caribbean Cup, but all efforts to establish why not have brought no response. Finances are the obvious answer, as it generally is in the Caribbean, but the Bahamas ought not to be quite as impoverished as some of its near neighbours. It would be good to see a return to action soon, but there is nothing currently in the offing. Their 23 months at the bottom of the rankings – 20 in this current stint dating back to August 2015 – has seen them rise to 12th on our all-time list.

Eritrea, Somalia and Tonga

This trio all sank to the bottom rung together in December 2015, which was the first time for all of them. Together they have now all clocked up 16 consecutive months at the bottom of the world, to reach joint 18th place on the all-time list.

As mentioned with Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia could have seen CECAFA Cup action last year and hopefully will again soon, although Eritrea were barred from the last edition for political reasons as it was held in Ethiopia.

Tonga meanwhile are unlikely to see action again until the next round of World Cup qualifiers begin which could be a couple of years away yet.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar’s seventh month down in the depths has lifted them up to joint 26th alongside Cambodia. At least Gibraltar will have the opportunity to change their fortune this month, unlike their other worst in the world club members, however since they travel to Bosnia & Herzegovina in World Cup qualifying the chances of success are slim to say the least.

But in terms of an active team at the bottom of the rankings, Gibraltar are our main focus as they continue their search for a positive result since joining FIFA. The irony is that they managed a handful of draws as members of UEFA prior to FIFA recognition, but as such Gibraltar weren’t listed on the FIFA rankings at the time and gained no points for them.

Perhaps more intriguing than the Bosnia match this month is the home fixture (well, close to home anyway in Faro, Portugal) with Cyprus. This surely represents Gibraltar’s best hope of a point in their current group. Other than that there are no scheduled friendlies as of yet, but Gibraltar aren’t averse to such fixtures unlike their fellow worst in the world teams, so there may be some hope.

Otherwise, once the UEFA Nations League kicks off in September 2018, Gibraltar will have some more winnable competitive fixtures which if they are still part of this club at the time will make for very interesting viewing for us.

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