Guam – Following the Matao’s first-ever win over Chinese Taipei in the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifier in Myanmar earlier this year and results from other international matches around the world, Guam moved up to No. 176, surpassing its previous best ranking by two spots.
FIFA announced the new world rankings July 4 on its Web site.
“I am extremely happy to see that the hard work of the Matao and its coaching staff continues to pay off,” said Gary White, head coach of the Matao and GFA technical director. “The Matao’s achievements could not have been possible without the unwavering support of Richard Lai and the GFA executives, as well as the support of the island community. The team has produced some great results this year – Guam’s first-ever win over Chinese Taipei and now, another milestone with the island’s new highest-ever world ranking.
“We hope that with the continued support of the community we can achieve even more by competing in more international matches. We are moving closer to our goal of being the fifth element in East Asia much quicker than expected,” added White.
In a 10-year plan for GFA created by White entitled GFA Project 2022, he outlined the plausible goal of reaching the No. 5 ranking in East Asia in ten years time. Guam currently is ranked No. 7 in the region, a highly competitive region that includes Japan and both Korea Republic and DPR Korea, and is just one world-ranking spot behind East Asia’s No. 6, Chinese Taipei. The No. 5 spot currently is held by Hong Kong, a team that narrowly won 2-1 against Guam in December 2012.
Against Chinese Taipei in March this year, Matao captain Jason Cunliffe scored twice and Ian Mariano added another goal for Guam in the team’s 3-0 shutout win. Second half substitute goalkeeper Dallas Jaye stopped a late penalty kick by Chinese Taipei to preserve Guam’s clean sheet, defended by starting goalkeeper Doug Herrick.
The Matao has received invitations to compete in tournaments and friendly matches before the year’s end. A later announcement will be made with details of upcoming competitions.