Lyle Foster. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Lyle Foster. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Having Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau in the same city of Bruges serves as comfort and can be an advantage for Cercle Brugge, says Lyle Foster‚ the Orlando Pirates youth product.

Foster, 19, enjoyed his best run of game time‚ often as a right-wing, as a top-flight professional in a 2019/2020 Jupiler Pro League season cut short by the coronavirus.   

The SA Under-23 international played 19 of 29 league games‚ scoring once‚ as the smaller Bruges club‚ Cercle‚ finished 14th in the cancelled 16-team 2019/2020 Pro League.

Tau’s Club Brugge (70 points) were crowned champions with a huge 15-point lead over Gent (55 points).

Foster was asked how much he sees of Tau.

“We don’t necessarily hang out because our schedules are both so tight‚ but after a game we’ll chat‚” he said.

“The last game we played against each other we were the last to leave the stadium because both of us were standing in the tunnel speaking about football. I love speaking to Percy because of the experience he has‚ the type of player he is‚ and he’s definitely a person I look up to.”

Foster said having one of Bafana’s biggest stars — a 2016 Caf Champions League and twice Premier Soccer League (PSL) title winner with Mamelodi Sundowns — in the same Belgian city can be comforting and inspirational.

“Whenever someone asks me my nationality and I say I’m South African‚ because his club is the biggest in Bruges they will always mention Percy Tau‚” Foster said.

“They really know who he is. They really love him.

“I love asking him questions. How it felt to win the Caf Champions League‚ winning the PSL title and playing for Bafana Bafana.

“It’s a great advantage and tool that one of Bafana’s best assets is right here.  And if I need advice I can just listen to him.”

Cercle and Club Brugge even share the Jan Breydelstadion as a home ground‚ where Foster says his team normally attracts about 15,000 supporters.

For the Bruges derby the ground is packed to its 29‚000 capacity‚ as it was when Foster came off the bench in a 2-1 defeat for Cercle on March 7 where Tau was an unused substitute. Kylian Hazard‚ younger brother of former Chelsea star Eden‚ was also a substitute and scored for Cercle.

“The stadiums here aren’t as big as at home. But definitely there’s a crowd to play for and it’s an experience to enjoy‚” the former Buccaneer said.

Tau, on loan at Club Brugge from English Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion‚ played 18 league games for the champions in 2019/2020 and against Real Madrid and Manchester United in their Uefa Champions League and Europa League campaigns.