The African Nations Cup has showcased some of the world's best footballing talent over the past month. The likes of Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Samuel Eto'o are well known across Europe, but there have been some other stars to emerge from Africa's flagship tournament this year.
As Egypt retained their trophy, the following players can be safe in the knowledge that they have impressed perhaps enough to earn themselves a big move in the near future.
Alexandre Song (Cameroon)
The 20-year-old may have already won himself his big move from French side Bastia to Arsenal, but the tournament has done him a world of good. Playing regularly has helped Song's case to break into the Arsenal first-team, showing strength, power and good distribution. His performance against the likes of Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari in the Ghana midfield in a tough semi-final was impressive and his presence was missed in the final after he limped off injured.
He may not displace the likes of Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas just yet, but the emergence of the Cameroon starlet could be one of the reasons why Arsene Wenger looks ready to offload Gilberto Silva in the summer.
Another to have sealed his dream move already, Manucho hit the headlines prior to the tournament when he was unveiled as a Manchester United player. The response was, at best, muted as fans searched far and wide for details of the little-known striker. However, by the end of Angola's opening group game against South Africa , the 24-year-old had demonstrated what he was capable of and went from strength to strength throughout the tournament.
The most impressive aspect of Manucho's four goals was the variety of methods he utilised to find the net, while the pick of the quartet came against Egypt in the quarter-final when he rifled a left-footed drive home from all of thirty yards. United fans will have to wait a little longer to see Manucho in action, as work permit issues will force him to spend the rest of the European season at Panathinaikos on loan. However, after his exploits in Ghana, his arrival at Old Trafford is significantly more anticipated than it was a month ago.
Anthony Annan (Ghana)
Alongside Sulley Muntari and Micheal Essien, the defensive midfielder proved that he has the capability to play at a much higher level than he currently does. Plying his trade in the Norweigan league with IK Start, Annan has reportedly been linked to Chelsea - thanks, in no small part, to his Ghanaian midfield partner Essien. Small, yet strong and quick around the pitch, Annan is still only 21-years-old and has been likened to Essien in his style of play. The next big thing to come out of Ghana, Annan has used the Nations Cup to good effect and it should not be long before he is seen at one of Europe's elite.
Amr Zaki (Egypt)
With star striker Mido out of the tournament, the onus on goalscoring fell on the El Zamalek frontman. Boasting pace and strength, the Egyptian was influential in their semi-final win over the Ivory Coast, scoring two goals and setting scouts' pulses racing across Europe.
The striker has already had an unfortunate spell with Lokomotiv Moscow, where he didn't play a single game, so may not be interested in a move abroad. However, alongside Mohamed Zidan and Hosny Abd Rabou, Zaki has been one of the main reasons why Egypt have done so well. The Pharoahs did not miss Mido at all, which is a large compliment to Zaki given the status the Middlesbrough striker commands in his home country.
Elrio van Heerden (South Africa)
Carlos Alberto Parreira made his feelings regarding this year's Cup of Nations apparent when he named his squad for Ghana. The Brazilian chose not to include well-known names such as Benni McCarthy, Delron Buckley and Siyabonga Nomvethe, moves which allowed opportunities for a number of less experienced players to shine. The response was mixed, with Bafana struggling to compete in Group D. However, van Heerden was one player that certainly did take his chance to impress.
Scoring in his first game against Angola, Van Heerden came off the bench again versus Tunisia and his introduction coincided with an improved second half display. Finally, Parreira rewarded the Club Brugge midfielder with a start against Senegal and van Heerden responded by putting Bafana ahead with a clinical finish. It was the culmination of an impressive tournament for the 24-year-old, whose lively displays, which featured an ability to use both feet and a strong presence in front of goal, are set to offer van Heerden further chances in the build up to the 2010 World Cup.
Brian Brendell (Namibia)
In a Brave Warriors side playing in just their second-ever Cup of Nations, Brendell was an impressive spearhead. He found the net in Namibia's games against Morocco and Guinea and was a constant threat with his elusive running and movement. Indeed, had Brendell been a little more composed in front of goal, he could easily have added to his tally. However, at just 21, he has plenty of time ahead of him to hone his potential. That development is almost certain to come at a bigger club than the one for which he currently plies his trade, FC Civics of the Namibia Premier League.
Pascal Feindouno (Guinea)
Guinea's captain may have been sent off and suspended for two games after kicking out at a Morocco defender in his side's 3-2 win, but he showed his class in the game before getting the red card. Currently playing in France for AS Saint-Étienne, the midfielder set up the goal against Ghana and then scored a cracking free-kick and penalty before his moment of madness in Accra. Without him, Guinea are a different side - as they showed losing 5-0 to the Ivory Coast - and if his club form continues to improve then he may begin to attract further attention.
Soufiane Alloudi (Morocco)
Alloudi's importance to Morocco is best demonstrated by a study of what the Lions of the Atlas did without their striking spearhead. By the half hour mark of Morocco's opening game against Namibia, Alloudi had a hat-trick to his name. However, the 24-year-old would not finish the game, limping off in the second half with a knee injury that ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament.
In his absence, Morocco fell apart, slipping from the top of Group A after the first round of matches to third by the end of the schedule, as consecutive defeats to Guinea and Ghana ruined the start Alloudi had given them. Once he is fully recovered, Alloudi's club future is almost certain to change. Currently on loan to Al-Ain of the United Arab Emirates' league, his brief but brilliant showing in Ghana, which featured penalty box finishing with both feet and head, will have alerted scouts to his upside.
Hosny Abd Rabou (Egypt)
In a side that based its game plan on defending leads, Hosny's role was essential. Three of Egypt's first four games featured an opening goal from the 23-year-old, whose all-round play was an integral part of the defending champions' impressive run. Even more impressive about Hosny's big-time goalscoring was that each goal came from the penalty mark. On each occasion, the spot-kick was dispatched with minimum fuss. At the opposite end, the nerveless Hosny quietly went about his defensive business, providing an effective barrier in front of the Pharoahs' defence.
Never was this less glamorous ability displayed more than against Ivory Coast in the semi-final when, with Egypt holding a 1-0 lead just before half-time, Hosny's magnificent last-gasp interception denied the Elephants an equaliser. Hosny has been on the radar of top European clubs since excelling at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship and has already had a short spell in France with Strasbourg. Another, longer-term move to Europe now seems almost certain.
Chaouki Ben Saada (Tunisia)
After playing just eleven minutes in the 2006 World Cup, Ben Saada took the chance to stamp his authority on a tournament with a collection of assured performances. The versatile 23-year-old was a key figure in the Eagles of Carthage's run to the quarter-final and almost helped Roger Lemerre's side get past Cameroon. Ben Saada had struck his first goal of the tournament against South Africa, a neat finish that came when he reacted quickest to a loose ball in the Bafana penalty area.
Then, with Cameroon 2-0 ahead and seemingly cruising, Ben Saada curled a wonderful free-kick beyond Carlos Kameni to offer Tunisia a way back into the last eight encounter. The Bastia man almost doubled his tally moments later with a crisp first-time shot that Kameni somehow kept out. Born in France, Ben Saada played youth internationals for les Bleus before pledging his allegiance to the nation of his parents in 2005. Tunisia reaped the rewards of the decision in Ghana and Ben Saada could be set to cash in on his strong showing the next time the transfer window opens.