[India], July 6 (ANI): The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has congratulated the national team after they achieved their second-best FIFA Ranking ever by reaching the 96th spot.
India's best-ever FIFA Ranking till date stays 94 which was attained in February 1996, while 99 stayed India's second-best FIFA Ranking which was also achieved in November 1993.
The Indian football team have been on an upsurge with a string of good results leading to a climb of 77 places in FIFA Rankings over the last two years.
India were ranked 171 when Stephen Constantine took over as national coach for the second time in February 2015 and slipped further to 173 in March 2015 in the FIFA ladder even before Constantine could have his first game in charge against Nepal, which India eventually won 2-0 on aggregate.
Congratulating the Team, AIFF president Praful Patel said, "It's a giant leap of faith for Indian Football. Two years back, we were 173 and now we have reached our second best FIFA Ranking ever. The leap signifies the potential of Indian Football. Congratulations to the National Team boys, the Coach, the staff and all in AIFF."
Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF stated, "This comes as a huge boost ahead of our next AFC Asian Cup qualifying match against Macau on September 5, 2017. Hats off to the Team for giving it their all in achieving this milestone. Qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 stays our top priority."
Constantine stated, "When I took over, I had mentioned that my target was to bring India below 100. I am happy to have played a small part in this process. Kudos to the boys, the staff and a big thank you to my colleagues in AIFF for supporting us all throughout. I also need to thank Mr. Patel and Mr. Das for their trust in allowing me to do things in the manner I wanted."
"But the present FIFA spot doesn't mean that we have achieved much. We need to stay focused on the upcoming challenges."
The recent upward movement in rankings came following India's 2-0 win against Nepal in a friendly. They also emerged victorious against Kyrgyzstan in AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers group match last month.
India, who are currently on 341 points and are seven behind 95th placed Cyprus, have now won 13 of their last 15 matches and are unbeaten in the last eight matches.
India will now face Macau in the third round of the Asian Cup qualifying clash on September 5. (ANI)