Ethiopian football has never looked so good in several years. Once a giant in African football, Ethiopian football was in decline for a generation, that is until recently. For the first time in more than 30 years, Ethiopia has qualified for African Cup of Nations and that has helped the country to climb 16 places to rank 102 in the world according to the latest FIFA rankings. This is the best ranking since 2006 when it was ranked 92 and the only other time Ethiopia broke in the top 100 was back in 1993 ranking 96. The latest ranking is the third best showing for Ethiopia, since FIFA introduced the rankings in December 1992.
Spain remains the top team in the world followed by Germany and Argentina. Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria and Mali are the top three teams in Africa. Sudan is tied with Ethiopia at 102 and Kenya ranks 130, Eritrea (192), Somalia (193), South Sudan (200) and Djibouti (202).
The ranking is encouraging but by no means what this football-crazy nation would be satisfied with. Ethiopia may be known for its world class distance runners around the world, but no sport comes close to football in its popularity in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has a special place in African football as one of the founding members of the African Football Federation. It has won the African Cup of Nations in 1962 and was a runner-up in 1957. 2013 will mark the first time Ethiopia is competing for the African Cup of Nations in 31 years. Ethiopia is also vying to make history in the World Cup qualification as it leads Group A for FIFA World Cup Qualification from Africa.