Percy Tau defends move to Al Ahly
Former Brighton player named Bafana vice-captain ahead of two World Cup qualifiers
Percy Tau has dismissed critics of his decision to leave English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion and move to Egyptian powerhouse Al Ahly.
Tau joined the North African side last week and numerous commentators and observers weighed in on the career switch, with some cynics saying the Bafana Bafana striker should have remained in England and fought for his place rather than join a side on the continent.
But Tau never settled at Brighton and revealed that he had several offers on the table, including from other sides in Europe. He elected to reunite with Pitso Mosimane at Al Ahly and rekindle a relationship that saw the two win the Caf Champions League while at Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.
“In most of the decisions, or rather in that decision process [to join Al Ahly], most of the time I consider myself, I consider how I feel,” he said. “I know I will always have the support of South Africans and I know SA is a footballing nation.
“What is the point of me sitting [in Brighton] when I am not playing? Everybody wants to see me play, I want to see myself play and my family wants to see me play. I know, of course, that people will always have opinions on such moves.
“I have made such moves before. I went from Witbank Spurs to the academy of Mamelodi Sundowns when I was 17 years old. I went back to Spurs on loan. I [eventually] got to Brighton, though there was uncertainty regarding that move.
“I went to Union [Belgian club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise] on loan, I went to Club Brugge, so it is part of my career to move around. So, someone feels ‘if you stay here, you will be OK’. But I feel at that moment you do not know what I am going through.”
The 27-year-old, who was signed by Brighton from Sundowns in July 2018, struggled to break into manager Graham Potter’s XI. While he set the scene alight during his numerous loan spells, he found himself dropping down the pecking order in England.
He did not take too kindly to those who feel he has taken a step backwards by leaving England to join Al Ahly.
“Look, the move made more sense to me than staying in Europe,” he said. “Of course, there were offers in Europe, I considered them, considered my age and all the other factors that I have not disclosed to you guys [the media].
“I mean it made more sense for me to move to Egypt. It is good to have him [Pitso Mosimane] there because I know that he will challenge me to try and win. I know that he will make me a better person, a better player.
“It is about time because I also love to win games. I cannot wait to get started.”
Tau was named Bafana vice-captain on Monday and will be deputy to Supersport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.
Bafana coach Hugo Broos announced the decision at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto, where the team had its first training session on Monday ahead of the forthcoming back-to-back 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana.
Broos said he could not have asked for better candidates and expects the two players to lead Bafana both on and off the pitch.
Williams and Tau will have to hit the ground running as Bafana travel to Zimbabwe on Wednesday to face their neighbours in the crunch match on Friday. They will then return to SA to host Ghana on Monday.
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