Afghanistan AfghanistanBadge
Months as Worst in the World : 1
When? : January 2003 – January 2003 (1 month)
All-Time Worst in the World Ranking : =30th
Afghanistan on FIFA
Afghanistan on AFC
National FA Website

Afghanistan appeared on the FIFA world rankings for the first time on 15th January 2003, having returned to international football action after a break of nineteen years. Due to a quirk of the timing of the rankings publication, Afghanistan never actually played a match whilst listed as the worst team in the world – at least not officially.

On returning to the international football fold, Afghanistan took part in the South Asian Football Federation Championship in January 2003. Their first round group matches all took place before the new world rankings were published on 15th January that year, but only two of them had been taken account of in the rankings.

Afghanistan lost all three of their matches, all played in the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They were beaten 1-0 by Sri Lanka, 4-0 by India and 1-0 by Pakistan. When the first rankings of 2003 were published, only the first two of those defeats had been included in the points calculations. In those days of earning points even in defeat, this garnered 7 points for Afghanistan. This left them one point shy of Montserrat at the bottom of the world, and they were thus newly installed as the worst in the world.

But they had of course already played and lost their third group match to Pakistan the day before, it just hadn’t been taken into account yet. So when February’s rankings were calculated, Afghanistan “earned” two further ranking points from that defeat and managed to leapfrog Montserrat at the bottom of the table to claim the highly coveted 203rd spot – one off the bottom. The upshot of all of this is that Afghanistan spent one month ranked as the worst in the world before making good their escape, but didn’t actually take the field to play a match whilst carrying that tag.


They have appeared in a WITW fixture though, when beating bottom ranked Bhutan in the 2013 edition of the SAFF Championships, but were safely listed higher up the rankings at the time.

Afghanistan Article Links
Matches played as Worst in the World

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