Cape Town - Bafana Bafana have moved up two places in the latest FIFA world rankings released on Thursday, but remain the lowest ranked side in their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group A.
Bafana had been in free-fall down the rankings before Thursday's list was released and can take some small comfort from their upward movement.
They are now at No 85 in the world and 22nd in Africa, well below SAFA’s stated ambition of a regular place in the world’s top 20 and Africa’s top 3.
But a successful Nations Cup campaign would certainly elevate them close to those levels and that is an additional carrot being dangled in front of coach Gordon Igesund and his team.
They are also below Cape Verde (70th and 15th), Morocco (74th and 17th) and Angola (78th and 19th), who they take on in their AFCON pool.
Ivory Coast remain the top side in Africa, and a healthy No 14 in the world, while Algeria have clung on to second spot, followed by Mali, Ghana and Zambia.
Libya, Gabon and Central African Republic will all not be at the 2013 Nations Cup, but sit in positions six to eight, with Nigeria and Tunisia rounding out the top 10.
Egypt were the biggest fallers, dropping 13 places in the world rankings and to No 11 in Africa. Recent losses to Ghana and Ivory Coast did not help their cause.
There was no change in the global list with Spain holding on to top spot ahead of Germany, Argentina, Italy and Colombia. England, Portugal, Netherlands, Russia and Croatia round out the top 10.
Top 20 in the latest FIFA rankings:
14. Ivory Coast
85. South Africa