Percy Tau will look to put his skill on display at AFCON as Bafana Bafana look to finally capture continental silverware. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Bafana Bafana talisman Percy Tau is the man for the big occasion and has all the attributes to emulate retired forwards Benni McCarthy and Shaun Bartlett.

McCarthy is the all-time leading goalscorer for Bafana with 31 goals and Bartlett is second on the list of the players with the most strikes for the South African senior national team.

The duo won the Golden Boot gong at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 1998 and 2000 respectively. McCarthy shared the Golden Boot award with Egyptian legend, Hossam Hassan, in Burkina Faso after they finished the tournament tied on seven goals.

Tau can replicate the performances of McCarthy and Bartlett in this year’s edition of Afcon, which started in Egypt on Friday night. The Witbank-born former Mamelodi Sundowns hit man loves performing on big stages. Tau thrives under difficult circumstances.

All eyes will be on him to deliver the goods for Bafana as they aim to advance to the knockout stages of the competition.

Tau was instrumental for Bafana during the qualifying campaign as they secured their ticket to Egypt. He netted two important strikes in a do-or-die encounter against Libya away from home.

Bafana needed to avoid defeat in that game while their adversaries were desperately in need of maximum points. Tau was the hero with a well taken brace. Bafana won 2-1.

Tau has been in a rich vein of form at club level in Belgium. He campaigned in the second tier in Belgium and was chosen as the best player in the league following impressive displays for Union SG.

Tau is on the books of Brighton and Hove Albion in England, but was loaned out to Union because of work permit issues. He made an instant impact in his first season in Belgium. Tau is a household name in that part of the world.

Tau is heading to Afcon oozing with confidence, and therefore has an opportunity to emulate Bartlett and McCarthy.

Bartlett edged Samuel Eto’o for the Golden Boot in the 2000 Afcon in Ghana and Nigeria. The current Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach notched five strikes while Eto’o finished with four goals.

Tau will get an opportunity to open his account in the first group match against Ivory Coast on Monday. The other group matches will be against Morocco and Namibia.

In 1998, Bafana reached the final in Burkina Faso but lost out to Egypt at the last hurdle, while in 2000 they finished third thanks to Bartlett’s goalscoring prowess.

If Tau can find his groove in Egypt there’s no doubt that Bafana can do well in this year’s spectacle.


Sunday Tribune

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