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Baxter: Tau can go anywhere

Brighton's on-loan South Africa striker Percy Tau has the quality to play in any of the top five leagues, according to former Bafana Bafana boss Stuart Baxter.

Former Brighton manager Chris Hughton signed Tau from Mamelodi Sundowns last summer for a fee thought to be around £2.7million, but he did not immediately qualify for a work permit and was sent out on loan to Belgian second division outfit Union St Gal­loise.

The 25-year-old shone during his spell, winning the award for the best player in the league with 13 goals and 13 assists in all competitions.

And his performances at the AFCON finals in Egypt over the summer didn’t go unnoticed either as he helped Bafana Bafana reach the quarter-finals, where they went out 2-1 against Nigeria.

Belgian topflight title favourites Club Brugge then snapped him up on a season-long loan deal.

And, in his 12 games for them so far, Tau has directly been in­volved in eight goals — which in­cludes an as­sist against Real Madrid in his Cham­pi­ons League group stage de­but.

Baxter, who worked with Tau in the South Africa na­tional team for two years, wit­nessed his rapid devel­op­ment and has tracked his progress closely since his transfer to the Seagulls.

And Bax­ter feels this season is im­per­a­tive for his ca­reer as it could set him up to ex­cel in the big­gest leagues Europe has to of­fer.

The Wolverhampton-born coach, who resigned after the AFCOn finals this summer, feels this season is im­per­a­tive for Tau’s ca­reer as it could set him up to grace one of the big­gest leagues Europe has to of­fer.

Baxter told “Once Percy got out [to Europe] the next big part of it was the mental side, that was the next big step, asking yourself if you are good enough for the next level. Am I good enough? Can I do it? Yes, I can! I’m scoring goals.. so his confidence increased and now as he continues to solidify this confidence at Brugge at the same time as he’s learning from playing against those better players.

“If he has one season, where he keeps his level, his consistency, professionalism and focus then yeah, he can go anywhere.”

Tau, who picked up a knock in Brugge’s win over Gent earlier this month, missed South Africa’s friendly win over Mali on Sunday after failing a late fitness test.

He trained with the rest of the Bafana Bafana squad but was kept out of a practice match for precautionary reasons.