Percy Tau Is One For The Future
The inevitable has happened, the hottest South African football talent might have just widened his circle of influence with his recent move to the English Premier League side, Brighton & Hove Albion. Percy Tau has penned a four year deal with the Seagulls, who are reported to have paid £2.8 million for his services, a record-fee for a South African.
A few months before today some thought the Senegalese legend, El-Hadji Diouf had gone mental. Diouf remarked that Percy Tau’s move to the big European leagues was long overdue and even went further to draw a comparison between the Witbank-born player with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. As the 2017/18 South African PSL season drew to a close, it becomes even clearer just how much potential the 24-year old possessed as he proved to be a special ingredient in Mamelodi Sundowns’ title-winning campaign. Tau capped off the season by winning three of the most coveted individual awards in South African football; South African Player of The Year, Players’ Player of The Season and joint-top scorer award. The move could not have come at a better time, especially since Percy had won all there was to win with Bafana BaStyle, including the CAF Champions League. This step up is actually less about him and more about his country’s progress and his role in charting it.
The Twitter community showed just how much the move means to South Africa as a people, who have been criticised for creating a haven of mediocrity by not allowing their players to seek new challenges. Even rivalries were put aside as fellow footballers and clubs took turns to congratulate Percy. Most remarkably was the top SA top-flight side, Polokwane City’s tweet, “Minus one problem! Hamba Kahle Simba (Go well, Lion).” Even the country’s top goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune who plays for a rival club in Kaizer Chiefs tweeted,
But the journey is far from over for the speedy forward as he now follows the footsteps of the likes of Quinton Fortune who played for Manchester United, Benni McCarthy (Blackburn Rovers & West Ham United) and most recently, Steven Pienaar, who played for Everton. He might just have a whole lot more to prove given the nation’s hopes pinned on him in an ever-increasingly competitive world. Percy will have to adjust to the new surroundings, new football style, make new friends and prove his worth. He will begin his Brighton career with a loan move in the upcoming Premier League season to “get an experience of European football” and actually allow room to have his work permit finalized.
“Percy is a player we have highlighted for the future, and there is no doubting his talent, having been voted South African player of the season. Percy will go out on loan this season, play regularly and get some experience of European football. We will be watching his progress and monitoring his development over the season.” - Chris Hughton, Brighton & Hove Albion Manager
All South African eyes and many new eyes are on him now and he seems to be embracing the challenge and poised to do well.
“Going out on loan is always good to help a player develop and get better. It’s new for me to be in Europe, and I’ll get to work on myself and a few things that I need to improve...Last season was great, I got a few personal achievements, but we won the league as well, which is something that means so much to me. I’m happy to have gone down that path, but it’s over now and it’s time to make new memories.” - Percy Tau
Adjusting to life at Brighton could actually be aided by the African connection building up at the club with the arrivals of the Malian midfielder, Yves Bissouma, Nigeria’s Leon Balogun who will meet the Cameroonian, Gaetan Bong who has been at the club since 2015.
Let us know just how high you think Percy will fly the South African flag in the comment box below.