Afcon 2019: Ivory Coast v South Africa - Players to watch

Comments()
Backpagepix
Bafana and the Elephants begin their 2019 Afcon campaign on Monday, and Goal looks at the most exciting players to watch

  1. Getty Images

    #1 Percy Tau

    The 25-year-old is currently Bafana Bafana's brightest prospect having recently been named Belgium's Proximus League Player of the Season. 

    Tau, who is on the books of English Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion, was highly influential in the qualifiers as he found the back of the net four times for the national team. His mobility and creativity could be key in unlocking a sturdy defence. 

  2. Getty

    #2 Serge Aurier

    As captain of an exciting Elephants squad, Aurier is expected to have a major role to play, especially against Bafana.

    With the Southern African team's pace and creativity down the wing, the match will test Aurier's experience and defensive attributes.  

    However, having only played a bit part for Tottenham Hotspur during the course of the 2018/19 campaign, he might have a point to prove. 

  3. Backpagepix

    #3 Bongani Zungu

    Another one of South African football's brightest stars. The midfielder can play anywhere in the heart of the park but he is best suited to play as a 'quarterback'.

    His distribution is his best asset along with his creativity and he could make a difference if head coach Stuart Baxter looks to the 26-year-old to make it happen. 

    However, he has not had much first team action as he only recently returned from a long-term injury.  

  4. Getty Images

    #4 Wilfried Zaha

    Afcon 2019 brings with it a new dawn for Ivory Coast.

    The nation has another golden generation to look forward to and the hopes of the nation are perhaps resting on Zaha's shoulders. 

    His pace and skill could be a nuisance for a Bafana defence which hasn't really been tested having just played one warm-up game against Ghana

  5. Backpagepix

    #5 Themba Zwane

    The Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker is undoubtedly one of the hottest properties on the African continent in local leagues.

    His experience playing in the Caf Champions League has also contributed to his growth. 

    What sets Zwane apart is his ability to not only create but to score goals. 

  6. Getty Images

    #6 Franck Kessié

    Playing for Italian giants AC Milan is no mean feat and Kessie is arguably one of the continent's most up-and-coming players.

    At 22, Kessie still has several years at the top and he could prove a handful for Bafana to deal with.

    The Bafana coach may have to find a way to deal with Kessie if they are to leave their opening game of the competition with something in the bag. 

  7. Getty Images

    #7 Darren Keet

    With Bafana No.1 Itumeleng Khune having failed to recover in time for the tournament due to injury, this has left Baxter to call up Keet, Ronwen Williams and Bruce Bvuma in order to fill the void. 

    Keet is the likeliest to start, considering the fact that he stood in for Khune in the decisive qualifying game against Libya and was in scintillating form. His command of the box and handling skills could also be important with Ivory Coast's physical presence from set-plays.