Malaysia, Singapore fall to record lows in FIFA rankings

Singapore and Malaysia have slipped to new lows in the latest FIFA rankings after both endured a miserable 2017.

Neither side won a fixture last year, as they fell out of contention for a place at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

This performance was reflected in the updated list, which saw both countries drop one more spot to establish new all-time lows.

Singapore now sit in 173rd place, while the Harimau Malaya are two places beneath them at 175.

The rankings stress the scale of the task facing Malaysia's new head coach Tan Cheng Hoe after taking over from Nelo Vingada last month.

But Football Association of Malaysia President Tunku Ismail Idris (TMJ) took the heat off Tan by releasing a statement on Facebook, insisting that the latest drop was down to him.

"The latest ranking of the national team has dropped from 174th to 175th," TMJ said. "I take full responsibility for the national team's drop in ranking and also every time the national team loses or even when their ranking drops."

However, the heroic performances of Malaysia's under-23 side at the AFC U23 Championship in China will give the nation hopes for a brighter future.

Under Ong Kim Swee -- whom TMJ repeatedly criticised when the former was senior head coach -- the Young Tigers have qualified for the quarterfinals against all odds and face South Korea for a semifinal place on Saturday.

They also won the men's football silver medal at last August's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The Football Association of Singapore, meanwhile, will hope that the new initiatives for the S.League will pay dividends sooner rather than later. In 2018, S.League teams will be required to start at least three under-23 players in each match as they try and support the development of their younger players.

Vietnam remain top of Southeast Asia as they hold onto 112th place, with the Philippines next in 123rd.

Despite dominating Southeast Asian football for the last four years, Thailand come further back at 129, ahead of Myanmar at 140 and Indonesia, a further 20 places down at 160.

Cambodia sit one spot above Singapore in 172nd place, while Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste just make it into the top 200.