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 Kickoff.com: “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.