South Africa's player to watch, rising star and one that will be sorely missed at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Player To Watch: Thulani Serero
Thulani Serero has struggled with injury this season for his club, Ajax Amsterdam, but he recovered just in time to make South Africa's squad for AFCON 2013, and will be fresh and ready to go by the time the tournament kicks off.
The 22-year-old has limited experience at international level but great things are expected of him, and on home soil, this could be his chance to shine.
Serero's blistering pace and outstanding ball control enables him to run at defences, putting the opposition on the back foot and opening up space for his team-mates. His knack for the unpredictable, together with his intelligent use of the ball makes South Africa's number 10 a key man for the host nation.
Rising Star: Tokelo Rantie
Tokelo Rantie's performances while on loan at Orlando Pirates last season had South Africa buzzing with anticipation. The striker netted seven goals in 20 appearances for the Buccaneers, who unfortunately were unable to make the deal permanent. The 22-year-old Stars of Africa Academy forward joined Swedish side Malmo FF in a 17-month loan deal, scoring a hat-trick on his competitive debut for the club. The striker carried that form over to Bafana following his call-up in June last year, and scored the first of his two international goals so far in his very next match.
Sorely Missed: Benni McCarthy
The return of Benni McCarthy to the Bafana Bafana set-up in June following a two-year absence had the nation giddy with anticipation. However, South Africa's all-time record goal scorer lasted just a few minutes during the friendly against Brazil and has been struggling with a hamstring strain ever since. The injury effectively ruled him out of this year's African showpiece, leaving the goal-scoring burden on Bernard Parker, Katlego Mphela, Rantie and Lehlohonolo Majoro.