One of the brightest youngsters in this South African team, Tsepo Masilela was discovered by former Bafana Bafana coach Ted Dumitru. Such was his meteoric rise that he made his full international debut before he had even signed a professional contract, a first in South African football. In the same vein, after only one season in top-flight football in his homeland, he made the move to Israeli club Maccabi Haifa. Blessed with seemingly boundless reserves of energy, Bafana opponents will need to be wary of his rampaging forays down the left-hand side.
The wing-back has brought stability to the left side of the South African defence since 2006 when he played in the team’s final group match at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Two years later, as a 22-year-old, he started all three of their matches at the 2008 continental finals, and he has since emerged as the most impressive defender in the South African line-up. His 2007 move to Israel after a few years with South African side Thanda Royal Zulu has reaped benefits for the player and after campaigning in the UEFA Champions League this season, Masilela has matured and is now a much better player. What will be of most concern to Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira though is that he doesn’t have a genuine replacement for Masilela in the left back position. The Brazilian boss bases a lot of his system on the marauding of wing backs, and he has himself a dynamic duo with Siboniso Gaxa on the right and Masilela on the opposite side.