Warriors drop in FIFA rankings, face tricky World Cup qualifier draw

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By Sports Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Warriors have dropped three places on the latest FIFA World Rankings released on Thursday following their disastrous campaign at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals held in Egypt.

The Warriors exited the tournament in the first round after finishing bottom of Group A which also featured hosts Egypt, DR Congo and Uganda.

Zimbabwe fell three places down the ladder in the world rankings to position 112 while they also dropped one spot on the African rankings to position 27 after being overtaken by Central Africa Republic.

The Warriors’ slump on the African rankings means they now face a potentially tricky preliminary tie in September before the group stages of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers whose draw will be held on Saturday.

They will have to win their preliminary round clash before the group stages of the World Cup qualifiers.

According to the format, round one of the qualifiers sees the lowest ranked 28 member associations play knockout matches‚ with the 14 winners advancing to round two.

The second round of qualifiers will be played as a group phase between March 2020 and October 2021‚ where the 14 winners of round one join the 26 other CAF nations to form 10 groups of four member associations‚ with the 10 group winners advancing to round three.

That final round is a straight knockout between the 10 sides to see which five teams will qualify for the 2020 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Zimbabwe, who are currently without a substantive coach following the abrupt resignation of Sunday Chidzambwa on Wednesday, will be making a return to the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the first time in four years.

The Warriors were expelled from the 2018 FIFA Soccer World Cup qualifying matches in 2015 due to the then ZIFA leadership’s failure to pay former coach Jose Claudinei Georgini.

Jose who is popularly known as Valinhos won his appeal to Fifa over outstanding US$60 000 salary against the ZIFA.