JOHANNESBURG – In the past three seasons, Percy Tau may have hopped from one team to another in Belgian football but he knows that he is still good enough for the English Premier League.
After a collective and individual blockbuster season with Mamelodi Sundowns four seasons ago, Tau joined Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion for a record R50million deal.
But after failing to meet the requirements – due to inferior caps and Bafana Bafana’s below-par Caf and Fifa rankings – Tau failed to secure a work permit in England. And subsequently, he was loaned out to the Belgian second division, the Proximus League.
He starred in his first season at Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and was justifiably voted as the Footballer of the Season in the division. A season later, Tau found himself on the road again, joining Pro League giants Club Brugge. At Brugge, the 26-year-old continued to shine as he won the championship and played in the Uefa Champions League. Currently, the Witbank-born footballer is calling fellow top-flight club Anderlecht home under the stewardship of Vincent Kompany.
With one-and-a-half years remaining on his Brighton contract, Tau’s return to his parent club remains a mystery, albeit murmurings that the stringent regulations over the signing of international players could be eased towards the end of the year.
Nonetheless, Tau has looked back at his stint in Belgian football with glee.
“I think I’ve been doing well, and I’ve been trying my best every time (I play). I’ve been on loan for three seasons but I think there’s been progress in my game,” Tau said.
In order to increase his chances of playing in the Premier League, Tau has to inspire Bafana to a formidable spot on the rankings. And so far, he has done a decent job considering that he starred when they beat Sao Tome and Principe 2-0 in the first of their back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Friday night.
The three points against the islanders ensured that Bafana remained second in Group C with six points, three behind leaders Ghana. But a further three points in the return game against Sao Tome and Principe should see the South Africans take a step closer to qualifying for the continental showpiece finals in Cameroon in 2022.
But coach Molefi Ntseki is eyeing beyond merely guiding his charges to Afcon, saying that a win against the lowly-ranked Sao Tome and Principe away, but at home – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this afternoon (3pm kickoff), will increase their chances of topping the group.
“Giving respect to Sao Tome and Principe, they’ve got nothing to lose and we’ve got everything to lose if we don’t get a positive result,” Ntseki said. “That means it will be for us to take the game to them like we did today (on Friday).”