First of all, let me say I'm not an expert when it comes to coaching, nor a scout. I rarely watch football matches because I'd rather spend time with my family. Even if I wanted to watch a game, my kids would quickly climb on my back clamoring for my undivided attention and/or the remote. Thus, I'm not able to say whether the quality of the football played by a certain team has improved or not.
Also, this post is about the quirks of the FIFA ranking, not about the value of a certain coach. I wanted to write this in December, but I didn't want to potentially ruin the job opportunity he received. Yes, I know. I'm overestimating my importance. I did say "potentially".
The All India Football Federation have announced the appointment of Mr. Stephen Constantine as the new head coach of their men's national team.
It's a very brief announcement - only 4 paragraphs. The last one sounds like this:
"The Englishman guided the Africans to their highest-ever world ranking of 68 in last month’s FIFA Ranking."
If you have followed the news regarding Mr. Constantine in the past couple of weeks, you might have noticed this FIFA ranking achievement being mentioned quite a few times. I have no inside information regarding AIFF's decision to choose Mr. Constantine and I can't say if it did actually make a difference.
However, let's take a look at this historical ranking for the Amavubi. How did they jump 22 spots in December without playing a match in the previous 4 months?
The answer is very simple - the 2014 CECAFA Cup got cancelled and their disastrous (1 win, 3 defeats) 2013 CECAFA Cup campaign lost value.
Had the competition gone ahead as scheduled, things would have been quite different. The teams from CECAFA were in November ranked outside the top 100, with the exception of Uganda and Rwanda, thus these games wouldn't have brought a lot of FIFA points for the Rwandan Wasps.
With a repeat performance (1 win, 3 defeats), Rwanda would have been 92nd in December. Even winning every game (with other teams repeating the 2013 results) would have seen Rwanda ranked 80th in December. So no historical ranking would have been achieved.
Even so, AIFF might have offered the job to Mr. Constantine anyway.
Best of luck with the new job!