Percy Tau is set to join Brighton in the Englsh Premier League. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Percy Tau is set to join Brighton in the Englsh Premier League. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
Lucas Radebe blazed a trail for South African footballers in the Premier League, becoming a legend at Leeds United. Photo: Reuters
Lucas Radebe blazed a trail for South African footballers in the Premier League, becoming a legend at Leeds United. Photo: Reuters
Quinton Fortune was a fixture at Manchester United during a large part of Sir Alex Ferguson's extremely succesful tenure as manager. Photo: Reuters
Quinton Fortune was a fixture at Manchester United during a large part of Sir Alex Ferguson's extremely succesful tenure as manager. Photo: Reuters
Benni McCarthy set the league alight during his time at Blackburn Rovers, finishing second on the goalscoring charts in his first season. Photo: Action Images / Ed Sykes
Benni McCarthy set the league alight during his time at Blackburn Rovers, finishing second on the goalscoring charts in his first season. Photo: Action Images / Ed Sykes
Steven Pienaar was an important part of the Everton team that manager to regularly punc above its weight under David Moyes. Photo: Action Images / Alex Morton
Steven Pienaar was an important part of the Everton team that manager to regularly punc above its weight under David Moyes. Photo: Action Images / Alex Morton
Aaron Mokoena spent several season at Blackburn and Portsmouth and was valued for his versatility. Photo: Action Images / Tony O'Brien
Aaron Mokoena spent several season at Blackburn and Portsmouth and was valued for his versatility. Photo: Action Images / Tony O'Brien

CAPE TOWN – Bafana Bafana fans would’ve been delighted with the news this week that Percy Tau is on his way to Brighton & Hove Albion in the English Premier League.

The Mamelodi Sundowns striker has had a frustrating last few months in negotiating a move away from Chloorkop, and even resorted to sitting out of pre-season training to force Masandawana’s hand. Eventually, big boss Patrice Motsepe gave the go-ahead this week, and now the details are being sorted out between the two clubs for what could be a SA record R50 million transfer.

The 24-year-old Tau’s blistering pace will be a real asset to Brighton, who finished 15th last season and will look to move higher up the log in the new campaign. The Seagulls manager Chris Hughton has already made a number of signings, including Nigerian defender Leon Balogun and Brazilian left back Bernardo.

But PSL Player of the Year Tau will do well to emulate these five successful South African exports to the Premier League…

1 Lucas Radebe

‘The Chief’ of Leeds United, Lucas Radebe captured the hearts of the Elland Road faithful with a number of inspirational performances from 1994 until his retirement in 2005. He was even made captain by manager George Graham after a difficult start under Howard Wilkinson, and led the side to the Champions League semi-finals in 2001. The famous UK band Kaiser Chiefs is named in honour of Amakhosi stalwart Radebe, who is probably more famous in Yorkshire today than he is back home.

2 Quinton Fortune

He went overseas as a teenager to Tottenham Hotspur, but due to work permit issues, Quinton Fortune joined Mallorca and eventually Atletico Madrid. Fortune’s big break, though, came when he signed for Manchester United in 1999, just after their famous Champions League triumph. He proved to be a valuable squad member, filling in for Ryan Giggs at left wing, and later even as a left back and central midfielder. Fortune later also turned out for Bolton Wanderers.

3 Benni McCarthy

The Bafana star striker first made his name at Ajax Amsterdam, Celta Vigo and then Porto, where he won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho. But Benni McCarthy’s best memories in England came at Blackburn Rovers, where he was the second highest league scorer in the 2006/07 season with 18 goals, and 24 in all competitions. His much-publicised fall-out with West Ham vice-chairperson Karren Brady saw McCarthy leave the UK in 2011 to join Orlando Pirates.

4 Steven Pienaar

The last real feel-good SA import to the Premier League, former Bafana captain Steven Pienaar is adored at Everton, where he became a huge success under the watch of David Moyes. Having become a household name at Ajax Amsterdam, Pienaar’s move to Borussia Dortmund didn’t really work out, and it was at Everton where he rediscovered his magical touch.

He was named the Everton Player of the Season in 2009/10, and even after an injury-ravaged year at Tottenham Hotspur, Pienaar went back to Everton for another fruitful time at Goodison Park before further injuries curtailed his career in Europe. A reunion with Moyes followed at Sunderland, but he was released in 2017 to end off his time in football at Wits.

5 Aaron Mokoena

Despite having earned over 100 Bafana caps, Aaron Mokoena is perhaps not as appreciated in Mzansi as he is overseas. After playing in The Netherlands and Belgium, ‘Mbazo’ joined Blackburn Rovers in 2005 and excelled as a defensive midfielder under Mark Hughes. Having earned over 100 caps, Mokoena moved on to Portsmouth in 2009 and stayed for three years before finishing his career at Wits in 2013.


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