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UNIFORMED TEAMS IN BEST GLOBAL RANKINGS

MBABANE – Global club rankings have surprisingly revealed that the country’s three security forces teams are among the best soccer clubs in Eswatini.

The trio predominantly occupies the best ranks than any other non-uniformed Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) team. According to Opta’s Power Ranking for soccer clubs, Young Buffaloes, Royal Leopard and Green Mamba are only respectively separated by Mbabane Swallows and Highlanders in the first, third and fifth ranks locally. Opta’s Power Rankings is a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to nearly 13 500 football teams. It is updated daily, with the last update for local teams being done last Tuesday. It ranks teams from 183 different Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) member countries and 413 unique men’s domestic leagues.

Army side Young Buffaloes are at the top as they rank 1 326, almost 1 180 places above MTN Premier League log leaders Green Mamba. Green Mamba occupy the 2 501st spot globally.
 Closer to Mandla ‘Stofu’ Dlamini’s men are Mbabane Swallows who rank1 546. Eight-time MTN League winners Leopard are just 40 places above the 2 000th  mark. They are closely challenged by Mbabane Highlanders who sit on the 2 316 spot. Worth noting is that most of South Africa’s (SA) DStv Premiership teams rank higher that local teams, but the likes Maritzburg United, Chippa United, Richards Bay and Jomo Cosmos are behind Buffaloes and Swallows.

As clubs across the world rarely play each other, although some do in continental tournaments, Opta compares teams mostly based on their domestic league performances. It also uses Elo-based rating systems to measure the strength of a team, which include official FIFA rankings for country’s rankings. According to their website, they have been comparing clubs since 1990. Although not all 28 PLE clubs appear on Opta’s ranking, Seven Dreams is the lowest ranked team. It is ranked 6 870th. However, financially troubled Manzini Wanderers this season are the 10th best team locally as they rank 5 183rd. Meanwhile, Milling Hot Spurs are the highest ranked National First Division side.