DURBAN – Percy Tau was outstanding for Mamelodi Sundowns last season as he produced a number of dominant performances which earned him a move to English Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion, but he has now found himself in the Belgian second division.
Former Bafana Bafana captain Sibusiso 'Rhee' Zuma, who enjoyed a glittering career in Denmark, was left puzzled when it was announced that Tau was heading to Royal Union Saint Gilloise in Belgium on a loan move.
Tau was one of the colossal figures as Sundowns stormed to their record eighth league triumph. He shared the Absa Premiership Golden Boot award with Rodney Ramagalela and walked away as the Players' Player of the Season and the Footballer of the Season.
Speaking with Independent Media, Zuma couldn’t hide his disappointment about Tau’s move to Belgium.
“Obviously for a player like him, leaving the English Premier League and going to the second division in Belgium, I’m a little bit disappointed.
“It really shows that our football is not doing well. We can’t have our top player in the second division in Belgium. This guy was picking up trophies and awards left, right and centre at home,” Zuma said.
Tau's problem is that he hasn't been able to get a work permit to play in England.
“Of course you have to understand that if you go to Brighton and they loan you out it means they see the potential in you.
“But you don’t do that to players like Tau. For players who are still trying to establish themselves, okay they can go to the second division in Belgium.
“I believe Percy was almost there. I was thinking maybe he’d make the bench of Brighton. I’m not saying I expected him to be in a starting line-up and bang goals from the word go,” he added.
South Africa doesn’t have any representative in the EPL. The retired Steven Pienaar was the last player from SA to ply his trade in England.
Back in the days SA used to have a number of players displaying their skills in England with the likes of Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, Shaun Bartlett, Aaron Mokoena and Benni McCarthy all flying the flag of Mzansi high.
“What happened to Percy just goes to show our level of football. Having said that I must mention that what they did in Percy does work. It is just that it happened to the wrong guy as we thought he was ready for the English Premiership.”
Zuma, meanwhile, has encouraged more players to go to Europe if possible.
“Playing in Europe makes you grow as a player. In Europe you must know what you are there for. The only thing that made me go to Europe was to improve and then use that to my advantage back home.”