At the beginning of every World Cup, talk is dominated by star players but by the end of the tournament it is almost always the players we discovered that gets us excited. The World Cup wave sees some players retreating into the vast ocean and others being brought into clear view courtesy a hi-tide. FIFA recognises young footballing talent on the World Stage through one of its official awards, the Hyundai Best Young Player Award. The award continues the tradition of officially recognising the positive impact made by young footballers and is open to all participating players born on or after 1 January 1989. The nominees and the winner is selected by the Technical Study Group which is a FIFA-appointed group of top football coaches and analysts. TSG’s director Jean-Paul Brigger is a former Swiss international, Swiss domestic league champion with FC Sion and was the country’s Player of the Year in 1992. He is also a five-time winner of the Swiss Cup and was named Swiss coach of the year in 1995. Other prominent members of the TSG are Christian Karembeu, Gérard Houllier, Holger Osieck, Kalusha Bwalya and Ephraim Matsilele “Jomo” Sono.
The winner of the award will be announced after tonight’s Final and will win thecoveted Hyundai Best Young Player Award trophy and a new Hyundai Tucson ix 35.
The Trophy is designed and created by United Kingdom-based company, Fattorini. It is made from solid steel and is 310mm high and 6.7 kilograms in weight. The spiral design symobolises the notions of a player running rings around opposition, the traditional African fashion accessory of jewellery bangles and the springs found on a car’s suspension system. thereby combining the three key elements: Football, Africa and Hyundai. The spirals also symbolize the football global part of the trophy, forming a strong link to FIFA’s claim: ‘For the Game. For the World.’
The three shortlisted players for the 2010 Hyundai Best Young Player Award include one player who was barely know outside of his country and another who was considered a weak link in his team at the start of the competition. However, if their performances at the 2010 World Cup are anything to go by, they’ll be the stars we’ll be talking at the start of the next World Cup. They nominees are:
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Thomas Mueller (Germany)
Thomas Muellar was a fringe player at Bayern Munich, just two seasons ago and won his first international cap in March 2010 in a friendly against Argentina. However, German manager Joachim Loew, showed faith in the 20 year old striker who is undoubtedly one of the stars of this World Cup with 5 vital goals and 3 assists.
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Giovanni Dos Santos (Mexico)
Giovanni Dos Santos announced his arrival on the World football scene at the age 16 when he lead Mexico to victory in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru in 2005. He has already caught the eye of big clubs in Europe. He was in FC Barcelona’s youth team and then moved to the English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur where he played as an attacking midfielder. He currently plays for Turkish giants Galatasaray. At just 21 years of age, the experienced ‘Gio’ has become one of Mexico’s key players.
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The son of Black Stars legend Abedi Pele, “Dede” Ayew became a world champion with the U-20s in Ghana last year. His succesful pass rate of 85% was one of the reasons for Ghana’s success at this World Cup. Following in the footsteps of a father who has a record three African Footballer of the Year awards is never easy but Dede Ayew who has already faced a test of character and bounced back from adversity as his young career threatened to stagnate has handled all the attention and criticism with great poise.