Percy Tau celebrates a goal during the 2018 Nelson Mandela Challenge match between South Africa and Paraguay at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban - November 2018. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana and Montpellier midfielder, Keagan Dolly, is proud of the progress Percy Tau is making in Europe, going from playing in Belgium’s second division to Uefa Champions League football.

Tau’s Club Brugge will take on Galatasaray in the Champions League next week. European giants Paris Saint-German and Real Madrid complete Group A, which will see Tau go to the iconic Santiago Bernabeu and Parc des Princes in France in only his second season overseas.

“We’re proud of Percy. I grew up with him,” Dolly said. “We played together at the (Mamelodi) Sundowns academy, since the age of 17. Since then I could see the potential in him. I am just happy to see that he is living his dream, it’s not easy to come from South Africa and go to a European country and dominate like he has been doing.

"I am just happy to see someone from South Africa doing well, for me personally it also gives me hope and encouragement to work twice as much to reach his level. For all of us, our dream is to play in the (Uefa) Champions League. To see him there, really motivates me and I am sure it does the same thing to the youngsters and all the players who dream of playing in Europe.”

Keagan Dolly during a Bafana Bafana training session at Orlando Stadium. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

There is a growing list of South Africans plying their trade abroad. Bongani Zungu, Lebogang Phiri and Lebo Mothiba call France home while Kamohelo Mokotjo is flying the flag in England. Banyana Banyana vice-captain Refiloe Jane signed for Italian giants AC Milan.

“We always want to see our players doing well in Europe and doing well in a bigger stage,” Dolly said. “It can only benefit the country. We’re in the right direction. There are few players moving abroad. Us doing well overseas will open the doors for more players.

I saw that Gift Links has moved to Denmark. I have seen Lyle Foster do well at Monaco, unfortunately he has been sent on loan in Belgium. Hopefully that will give him a chance to make a name for himself as well. He should go to Belgium and try to do his best.”

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The European-based players form an important cog in the Bafana team that will start their journey to Cameroon 2021 in November in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Bafana will start that campaign against Ghana before hosting Sudan. New coach Molefi Ntseki was denied the opportunity to lead the team in their first competitive match since he took over from Stuart Baxter. 

Zambia and Madagascar pulled out of playing an international friendly against Bafana due to the xenophobic attacks that hit SA last week. But the positive is that Ntseki knows the current squad quite well, which should make it easier for him to hit the ground running.

“We are accustomed to the coach,” Dolly said. “I have worked with him since the Under-23s. We are quite used to his ways, his tactics. We all understand what he demands from us and he knows what he will get from us. We are excited to be working with him.”

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