Zambia, the 2012 African champions, have shot up from 16th to fourth position in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) rankings as they also break into the top 50 in the world for the first time in 11 years after winning the Africa Cup of Nations.
Zambia moved 28 places in the FIFA world rankings, from 71st last month to 43rd after shocking many football pundits with superb football at Africa's soccer showpiece football event co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon from Jan 21 to Feb 12.
On their way to be crowned African champions, Zambia beat Senegal 2-1, drew 2-2 with Libya and beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in the group stages before humbling Sudan 3-0 in the quarter-finals. They edged Ghana 1-0 in the semi-finals before beating a star-studded Cote d'Ivoire 8-7 on penalties in the final after a goalless draw in regulation time.
"Zambia has touched the sky of Africa. But Zambia has to touch the stars. It is a fantastic moment for Zambia. I am very proud to be with you at this time. But we have to be humble," Herve Renard, the Zambian coach was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Cote d'Ivoire, despite losing the finals are number one in Africa, followed by Ghana and Algeria.