After a week of press, promotions and countdowns, the NBA Africa Game 2017 is finally here.

The event has captured the attention of locals, who have frequented the teams’ hotel and followed their every move. That emotion and excitement has not been lost on the players either, and there was banter aplenty at the launch event ahead of the game on Saturday night, with Team Africa captain Thabo Sefolosha promising revenge for the 101-97 defeat in the 2015 encounter.

Of course, that will be easier said than done, with Team World bursting at the seams with top NBA talent.

Here then, are two players who may just have a major say in the outcome of the game.

TEAM AFRICA: Dennis Schroder
The blonde streak in his hair may make him look whimsical and blithe, but when it comes to that Spalding he is anything but.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard of Gambian descent was promoted to full-time starter last season and is coming off the most productive campaign of his four-year tenure in the NBA, posting career highs in points per game (17.9), assists (6.3), field goal percentage (45.1) and free-throw percentage (88.5).

What makes Schroder stand out from the crowd (other than his fashion sense) is his lateral quickness and size, which make him dangerous when he gets in the paint. Couple that with his confidence and fearlessness and you get a player that can cause any defense some serious headaches. No wonder he is nicknamed ‘The Menace’.

His 6’7 wingspan means he can deny his opponent at the rim and put suffocating pressure on the ball in the full-court. This will come in handy in his match-ups against swift and crafty guards like Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown.

TEAM WORLD: Kristaps Porzingis
Despite the New York Knicks’ troubles on and off the court, Porzingis’ first two seasons in the NBA have been nothing short of amazing.

During the 2015-16 season he became the first rookie to notch over 1 000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks. Last year he improved his scoring from 14.3 to 18.1 points per game, while recording on average two blocks per game – the fifth best in the league.

And while he can’t be crowned a top 20 player (yet), the Latvian forward’s astronomic rise is scary. His shooting, versatility, athleticism and superior rim protection skills makes his very close to the full package.

He has also made progress on the other end of the court. He can patrol the rim and opponents typically shoot below their average from every range when he is on coverage.

His match-ups against Serge Ibaka or Gorgui Dieng will make for an intense and interesting duel.