Maiden Africa Cup of Nations appearance could boost brand Percy Tau
For Percy Tau‚ a first Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) starting this month in Egypt for Bafana Bafana’s most exciting attacking talent of the current generation might just be coming at exactly the right time.
At his age‚ 25; stage of career and state of form‚ Tau’s first Nations Cup can be huge for him‚ and for his emerging brand and stature on the continent and globally.
That‚ too‚ can have its benefits.
Tau just won the Belgian second-tier Proximus League’s Player of the Season award being loaned to Royal Union Saint-Gilloise having been signed from Mamelodi Sundowns by English Premier League club Bright & Hove Albion.
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He will be hoping for‚ at best‚ a call-back from Brighton‚ and at least a loan to a stronger league to continue his development in Europe.
First Tau – who first began to attract attention across Africa winning the 2016 Caf Champions League with Sundowns‚ and added to his reputation with the two stunning goals against Libya that saw Bafana through to Egypt 2019 – has to perform at the Afcon.
Down to earth and seemingly unfazed by stardom‚ Tau – also savvy and smart‚ as shown by his graduation with his BCom from Unisa this year – does think about his brand‚ he said.
“I think the brand will always be important to any sportsman in modern football‚” Tau said ahead of a Bafana preliminary squad training session at Steyn City in Johannesburg.
“I think most of the sports guys do focus on their brand – that is no different to how I do things.
“I think there’s so much to achieve and so much to get out of football and life.
“Luckily enough I’m still on the right path. I haven’t had so much in the way of injuries.
“So that puts me in a good position to grow and get better.”
Selfless and thoughtful‚ Tau is not looking at the Nations Cup for personal gain‚ but sees it in that light for everyone in Bafana.
“I think it’s huge for everybody. Luckily enough for me it comes at 25. For Lebo [Mothiba] it comes at 23‚” he said.
“So it can be good for a lot of guys. It will be my first time‚ and also for other guys it’s their first time.
“It’s good for the nation also to show that we’re able to go there and compete‚ and win it.”
Strasbourg’s big striker Mothiba just had a promising first season at the club‚ his 10 goals in 32 games helping them to a mid-table 11th place in 20-team Ligue 1‚ an improvement from 15th in 2017-18.
Mothiba scored two more goals in the Coupe de Ligue (League Cup) semifinals against Bordeaux‚ where Strasbourg beat Guingamp on penalties in the final.
The battering ram centre-forward‚ with the skilful‚ pacey Tau feeding off the scraps‚ give goal-shy Bafana a rare sharp end to their attack‚ a key weapon to be utilised as South Africa attempt to progress past Morocco‚ Ivory Coast and Namibia from Group D.