Rising stars to watch out for in South Africa

Young and talented, a handful of increasingly celebrated footballers are set to shape the future of the sport. France 24 takes a closer look at some of the rising stars who aim to set the World Cup on fire. (Part 2)


 Please click here for Part 1 of this article.

Javier Hernandez - Mexico
Born June 1, 1988
Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary Manchester United manager, did not even wait until the end of the World Cup to sign up Chivas striker Javier Hernandez. And no wonder: this player’s goal-scoring instincts are unquestionable. Fast and accurate, Hernandez has delivered 7 goals in just 12 games with Mexico’s national team. He is known as “Chicharito” (little pea) by an adoring Mexican public, who have placed all their hopes in the young man.

Jesus Navas - Spain

Born November 21, 1985
Jesus Navas, a small Sevilla winger with a piercing gaze, is a nightmare for defenders. He is a good dribbler, fast and nimble, with a cross that can blow apart the 18-yard-box. A propensity for anxiety attacks prevented Navas from earlier appearances with the Spanish squad, but this ailment is apparently now behind him. While he is not starting for the current European champions, he remains their secret weapon on the bench.

Sotiris Ninis - Greece

Born April 3, 1990
Named Greece’s best football player in 2007 at just 17, Sotiris Ninis is already a star in his home country. A teammate of French footballer Djibril Cisse, he helped Panathinaikos win both the national championship and tournament titles. His speed, wiliness and accurate passing did not go unnoticed internationally during his club's respectable run in Europa League this year.

Alexandre Song - Cameroon

Born September 9, 1987
Defending midfielder
Making his professional debut on SC Bastia at just 17, Alexandre Song has displayed his abundent  talent since his arrival at Arsenal in 2005. The nephew of the emblematic Cameroonian defender Rigobert Song, Alexandre is the prototype for holding midfielders. He is productive in his recovery, a fierce opponent on loose balls, and does not hesitate in rushing forward to boost the offense. Despite a disappointing 2010 Africa Cup, Song remains one of the key linchpins of the Cameroon side.
Manuel Neuer - Germany (main photo)
Born March 27, 1986
From Sepp Maier and Oliver Kahn, to Bodo Illgner and Andreas Kopke, Germany has consistently produced outstanding goalkeepers. Manuel Neuer (main picture), is Germany’s last line of defence in Johannesburg, at just 24 years old. Rene Adler’s injury has propelled Neuer to the starting position. Long described as the heir apparent for the German team, Neuer stands out for his discipline and for his mastery in getting the ball back into play.


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