DURBAN – Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is backing Percy Tau to shine in Europe.
Tau completed his big move to English Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday.
The reigning South African Footballer of the Season joined the English club from Mamelodi Sundowns. He penned a four-year deal that is reported to be worthy a staggering R50 million.
Speaking exclusively with Independent Media, Baxter expressed his delight about Tau’s move. “This is positive. It is good for the development of football in South Africa,” Baxter said.
“This goes to show the level of the PSL. Our players are scouted in top European leagues.
“It is going to be a mental challenge for Percy. It is a different country with a different style of play. It is risky, but Percy has all the elements that can make him successful abroad.”
Tau is initially expected to be loaned out in Belgium, as he doesn’t yet to meet the standards to obtain a work permit in England.
“One of the coaches in France asked me about Percy, and I told him that he is more of an Antonio Griezmann (of Atletico Madrid and France),” said Baxter.
“He can run behind the big, strong striker upfront. He is good at combination plays. He has the ability to make it abroad, but has to adapt. He has really worked hard.
“The timing of his movement has improved immensely. International exposure has also helped him to develop his game,” he added.
Tau is expected to play a pivotal role when Bafana resume their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in September.
Bafana are at the summit of their group following their historic 2-0 victory against Nigeria. They still have to play Seychelles and Libya.
“If you want to make it in Europe, you have to stay disciplined and work hard,” said Baxter. “It is not going to be easy, but as I said, Percy has all the elements to make it overseas.
“It will be nice to have a firing Percy during the Afcon qualifiers. He is a huge asset for us.”
Tau is currently the main man for Bafana upfront. All eyes will be on him when Bafana welcome Libya in an Afcon qualifier in September at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
“We need Percy and I hope this move will galvanise him. He will grow as a player and a person outside of football,” Baxter said.
Bafana failed to book themselves a place in the recent World Cup in Russia.