Percy Tau move a win-win situation

Percy Tau move a win-win situation

Percy Tau

Percy Tau’s move to Brighton and Hove Albion has to be good news for South African football, even if, as expected, the 24 year-old ends up playing next season in the second tier of Belgian football.

Tau, Brighton have already confirmed, will not be staying in the English Premier League this coming season, with Saint Gilloise, a club also owned by Brighton chairman Tony Bloom, touted as a likely destination for the 24 year-old attacking star.

It would be impossible, even if Brighton wanted him to stay at the Seagulls, for them to get Tau a work permit, so strict are the regulations at the UK Home Office.

Ironically, Tau’s chances of playing for Brighton in the future may depend somewhat on the success of Bafana Bafana, as the UK Home Office usually only grants applications for players from countries ranked in the top-50 of Fifa’s World Rankings.

South Africa are currently ranked 74th in the world, and will need a vast improvement under Stuart Baxter if they are to make their way into the top 50. Bafana’s lowly ranking was a major reason Kamohelo Mokotjo took up Dutch citizenship, in order to get his desired move to England, ending up with Brentford FC in the Championship.

Those who follow Bafana will remember the farcical situation where the South African Football Association called Mokotjo up for friendlies against Guinea-Bissau and Angola, without realising he had given up his South African citizenship upon taking Dutch citizenship, as required by Dutch law. Mokotjo’s South African citizenship was soon fast-tracked, however, as Dutch law does not prevent you from taking up dual citizenship once you are confirmed as a Dutch citizen.

Mokotjo’s situation is slightly different from Tau’s, as the former went to play for Feyenoord when he was 18 and had to play in the Dutch Eredivisie for some years, before he was allowed to apply for Dutch citizenship. Taking up a European nationality is unlikely to be Tau’s route into the Premier League, so either Bafana will have to improve, or Brighton will have to get some kind of exemption for him, if they want him to play in the UK.

Tau’s move, however, could help Bafana, because whatever league he plays in, the experience Tau gains in Europe will surely help him grow as a player. For this reason Tau has to be commended for pushing for the move to Brighton, as too many South African players appear to wallow in a comfort zone in the Premier Soccer League, content with a decent pay-package, but never really challenging themselves in a different environment.

It is pleasing to see that, like Keagan Dolly in France, and Bongani Zungu, first in Portugal and now in France, Tau has left Sundowns, the dominant side in South African football these days, to take on a new adventure.

Zungu has really made a success of his time in Europe, while Dolly was starting to show what he can do at Montpellier towards the end of last season. Hopefully Tau can be another success story from the ranks of Masandawana in foreign climes. He certainly has the skill, and appears to have the mentality as well, to succeed.





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