One of Percy Tau's highlights last season was winning the Caf Champions League. Picture: AFP
While most footballers around the country have been enjoying their off-season holiday, Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Percy Tau, 23, has been hard at work - on and off the field.

Not only has he made appearances for Bafana Bafana, and Sundowns in the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League in the last few weeks, he has had his nose in his books, studying for his mid-term exams.

But Tau, who scored seven goals and made 10 assists last season, isn’t complaining.

He is focused on achieving his dreams, even if it means having little to no breaks.

Percy Tau can't wait to get back on the field with his team as they look to recapture the league title. Picture: AFP

We caught up with the rising football star this week to chat about his off-season and his aims for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) season ahead, which kicks off in just under a month.

SN: Playing a season of football must be very grueling. What have you been up to during the off-season?

PT: We have not had an off-season as such as we are still playing Caf games during the PSL recess. We are just training less and have a lot more rest days to recharge the bodies.

SN: How do you keep fit during the off-season?

PT: Ordinarily for the first week or two, you are totally resting the body. You then start doing some gym work and a bit of running in week three or so. However, we have not had a chance to have a total off-season at Mamelodi Sundowns in the past two seasons.

SN: What is the one meal you enjoy having during the off-season?

PT: I enjoy my mother’s pap and meat during off-season. Pity I can only have it when the season is over, lol!

SN: What do you most look forward to doing when you are not playing football?

PT: Going back home to Mpumalanga to spend valuable time with my family, I hardly see them when the season is hectic with training and playing matches every three days, so that is what I look forward to the most.

SN: Do you miss playing football during this time?

PT: Not at all, off-season is the time to get away from football as much as you can.

SN: Do you spend time with any of your teammates?

PT: I get along very well with all my teammates, but I prefer to be home with family and loved ones during off-season period.

SN: You have the choice to pick any PSL players to play alongside you in a five-a-side tournament; which four would you choose to play with in your ultimate PSL five-a-side team?

PT: Motjeka Madisha, Lucky Mohomi, Themba Zwane and Lebogang Manyama.

SN: What was the highlight of the past season for you in a Sundowns shirt?

PT: Highlight of the season was winning the Caf Champions League, Caf Super Cup and playing in the Fifa Club World Cup.

SN: Sundowns had a run of poor form earlier in the season, failing to win five PSL games in a row. But the team bounced back and came very close to defending your league title. What are the strengths of this Sundowns team?

PT: Our strength is teamwork; it’s so great to witness. I have never in my short career seen players who are willing to work so hard for each other. I find inspiration from players like Vilakazi, Zwane, Ngcongca and Wayne Arendse among the many great players we have, as well as the tech team of coach Pitso (Mosimane), coach Manqoba (Mngqithi ) and coach Rhulani (Mokoena).

SN: Sundowns narrowly missed out on the title. Are you itching to get back on the field?

PT: Our ambition every season is to win the league, so we are all eager to challenge again next season.

SN: What is it about being at Sundowns that you enjoy and no other club can provide?

PT: I enjoy working with the talented players and amazing coaching staff. The role played by our supporters cannot be overlooked too. The club has given me so much in terms of success; with this club, I have gone from making my first PSL debut to scoring at the Club World Cup. It has been a great journey so far.

SN: Sundowns had a rigorous schedule in 2017. How do you stay motivated to give your best performance in every match?

PT: I always look to play better game than my last. Continous motivation is my biggest motivation.

SN: What does it mean to get such supportive backing from your coach, Pitso Mosimane, saying you have the ability to play in top leagues in Europe?

PT: It means a lot, he has played overseas and he understands what it takes to play at that level. He is helping me daily to reach that level. I appreciate his support and the belief he has in me.

Saturday Star

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