‘Benna Boys’ achieve highest FIFA rankings

Members of the Antigua & Barbuda Benna Boys squad celebrate after scoring against St. Vincent & the Grenadines in Group 5 of the CFU Caribbean Cup. (File photo)

Members of the Antigua & Barbuda Benna Boys squad celebrate after scoring against St. Vincent & the Grenadines in Group 5 of the CFU Caribbean Cup. (File photo)

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda is now the number one FIFA-ranked team in the Caribbean.

The senior national team leapfrogged 69 places on the recent Coca Cola FIFA Rankings to 80th in the world.

The rankings, released today, also positions the Benna Boys, at number eight, as the top Caribbean team within CONCACAF. They are ranked just above regional powerhouses Trinidad & Tobago (9th) and Jamaica (10th).

President of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton “Batow” Gonsalves has credited the FA’s programmes, development and otherwise, for what he calls the continued progression of the sport here.

“Our youth development programmes are up in the upper echelons in terms of the Caribbean,” he said. “You would have seen our level of play at the Under-17 level, at the Under-20 level and certainly at the female level but I think the real (meat) of the matter is the success of the men’s senior national team.”

The country’s recent dominance in Group 5 of the CFU Caribbean Cup played at the ARG, would also have contributed heavily to the team’s success in the rankings. The Benna Boys advanced from Group 5 after having won all three matches to top the group with nine points.

Gonsalves referenced the “high demand” by players to ply their trade in Antigua during the domestic season as an indication of high standard and quality of the leagues.

“As you would see from the transfer window and all of the excitement that is building up, the ABFA has the number one Premier Division competition in the Caribbean and with all these players looking to come to the ABFA from throughout the region and as far away as Brazil, that is sending a very serious statement as to the development and the excitement and to the management of ABFA football,” the football boss said.

Other highly ranked teams in CONCACAF includes St Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominican Republic, St Kitts and Nevis and Haiti who occupies from positions 11 to 14 on the recent release.

In the world rankings, Trinidad & Tobago is ranked 86 while Jamaica is ranked 100.

In the Women’s Rankings, Antigua & Barbuda sit at 122 in the world and 19th in CONCACAF.

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