AUCKLAND, 30 OCTOBER 2015 (OFC) --- American Samoa’s heroic efforts at the recent 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers OFC Stage 1 has them enjoying their highest ever standing in world football.
The island nation fell just one goal short of advancing to the 2016 OFC Nations Cup, but their two victories at the tournament in September were enough to see them jump 35 places in the FIFA World Rankings from 199th to 164th.
It is the highest position they have ever achieved in the standings, surpassing their feats in 2011 which saw them climb to 186th.
Football Federation American Samoa president Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet says it comes after years of hard work and dedication.
“This is an amazing achievement for our men’s national team,” he says.
“The executive committee and I got to see first-hand the efforts at training and the sacrifices made by our players and team management in preparing this team.
“The FFAS put on hold many of our programmes for this year as well as making some financial sacrifices to help achieve this, but we are all in agreement that it was well worth it.”
The historic leap up the rankings at the tournament in Tonga wasn’t the only notable American Samoa achievement, as the team also recorded their first ever clean sheet in beating the Cook Islands 2-0 on the final day of competition.
Captain Ramin Ott says his side’s performances should see them given the chance to play additional international matches in the future.
“It should shine a light on the fact that we need to play more international friendlies,” Ott says.
“We are more than capable of playing against the best in the world.
“Our position at 164 in the world rankings is only the highest so far, and it goes to show that American Samoa is heading in the right direction.”
With many of the national teams in the Oceania region not playing matches through September, Samoa, American Samoa and the Cook Islands were able to leap ahead of the likes of New Caledonia, Tahiti and Fiji in the rankings.
Sitting at 148 New Zealand are currently the highest ranked side from Oceania, followed by Samoa at 162, American Samoa at 164 and the Cook Islands at 166.... PACNEWS