x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Football revival sees UAE return to world's top 100

New Fifa rankings put the nation's team at 88th, moving up 13 positions since the last rankings in May.

They may have suffered humiliation in trying to qualify for the World Cup, but the UAE's football team have returned to the top 100 nations in the latest rankings issued by the sport's world governing body, Fifa. The UAE are now ranked 88th, moving up 13 positions since the last rankings in May. The team are back in the top 100 for the first time since 2006, when they slipped after more than a decade in the double-digit rankings, including a high of 42nd in 1998.

The turnaround follows a disappointing campaign in the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. The UAE won just one point in eight games, which led to the appointment of a new coach, Srecko Katanec. Since Katanec's arrival, the UAE have lost just twice in 10 games, and have beaten a Manchester City side, the Czech Republic and Moldova. A crop of talented youngsters have helped in the revival, which sees the UAE three places off Kuwait and just four behind Wales.

Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, the president of the Football Association, hopes the leap will act as a spur to the players. "This is something that should make everyone work harder to keep improving our rankings," he said. @Email:arizvi@thenational.ae