Nigeria moved five places up on the Fifa global rankings to place 52nd at the end of 2012 in the latest statistics released on Wednesday.
The Super Eagles have climbed up steadily in recent times after gaining six places in November and have now added a further five to end the year on a rising note ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
Stephen Keshi’s team defeated Venezuela 3-1 in an international friendly in November and this added to the positive climb.
The country’s football suffered in 2012 owing to the inability of the Eagles to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon & Equatorial Guinea. While the team ended 2011 in the 42nd position and fifth in Africa, its ranking slid as low as 63rd and 13th in Africa in October this year.
The Super Eagles now remain 10th in Africa behind Cote D’Ivoire, Algeria, Mali, Ghana, Zambia, Egypt, Gabon, Tunisia and the Central African Republic.
Nigeria will play in next year’s Afcon in Group C where they will face defending champions Zambia (ranked fifth in Africa), Ethiopia (31st) and Burkina Faso (24th).
Spain retained the number one spot for the fifth year, an achievement which earns them the ‘Team of the Year’ title according to Fifa. They are followed by Germany, Argentina and Italy.
The ‘Mover of the Year’ goes to Colombia for the second time since ranking was introduced in 1993. Los Cafeteros finished 2011 in 36th, but thanks to six wins, one draw and only one defeat thereafter – and the 455 points they consequently earned – they end 2012 in fifth.