Percy Tau back Kaizer Chiefs for African glory, hopes players get experience for Tokyo Olympics
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JOHANNESBURG - Percy Tau has backed Kaizer Chiefs to win the Champions League crown this season, although he concedes that won't be easy as they will have to ensure that they win their home game in the semifinals of the Pan-African competition.
After a turbulent outing in domestic football, where they found themselves languishing in the bottom half of the standings, Chiefs have punched above their weight in continental football. They’ll meet Wydad Casablanca in the last four of the competition.
Chiefs reached this stage of the competition after thumping Simba 4-3 in the quarterfinals - with four of those goals coming at home. Chiefs has found a backing from Tau, who grew up supporting the club despite playing for arch-rivals Mamelodi Sundowns before.
Tau left Sundowns three years ago to join English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion. But the 27-year-old winger admitted during his return to the country yesterday that he’s been keeping track of Chiefs progress in the continental showpiece this season.
“It’s going to be difficult (for them to win the title) but I am supporting them,” Tau said. “As long as they win their home games, of which they’ve done against Simba, (they should be fine). They had won their home game, and they had wrapped up the tie away.”
Tau won the Champions League with Sundowns five years ago under coach Pitso Mosimane. Since then, Tau has blossomed as a player and person, inspiring the Brazilians to the league title before being awarded the PSL Footballer of the Season award that term.
Tau has been colossal for Bafana Bafana as well after he inspired them to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations under coach Stuart Baxter. His continental experience, at club and international level, saw him being a regular while he was on loan at various clubs in Belgium.
With the Olympic Games and Fifa World Cup qualifiers coming up for the Under-23 national team and Bafana in the next few weeks, Tau says Chiefs’ players who’ve played in the continental showpiece have gained invaluable experience heading to the global showpieces.
“It’s their first time there (in the semifinals), and it’s a great experience and opportunity. I think it could be summed up as a good season if they get to the final and win it. It’s an opportunity to also get the experience of playing at that level,” the Witbank-born player said.
“The players need it when playing at Bafana. Also, there are some of their young players who’ll need such experience when they are going to the Olympics. We don’t get such experience compared to Europeans. It will be good for them to keep going. I wish them all the best.”