Tau wants to help Bafana qualify for next World Cup
Striker believes the team must ‘give hope to the next generation’ of players
Bafana Bafana striker Percy Tau has a burning desire to help the team qualify for the next World Cup and inspire hope to the next generation of footballers.
Tau is expected to start when Bafana host Benin in their first World Cup qualifiers Group C tie at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday (3pm). Bafana will then travel to Rwanda to face The Wasps at Huye Stadium in Butare on Tuesday (3pm SA time).
As Bafana last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, barring 2010 when SA qualified automatically as hosts, Tau is hell-bent on playing a leading role to make sure SA are among the nations in the 2026 global spectacle, to be co-organised in the US, Mexico and Canada.
“I’d love that [to qualify for the 2026 World Cup] to happen because I know it would mean so much to us as a country but also to the young boys, it would mean so much for them,” Tau, who plays for Egyptian heavyweights Al Ahly, said.
“They [youngsters] would be able to say ‘I saw Bafana play in the World Cup and I also want to play in the World Cup’. It’s very important for us to qualify for these major tournaments and compete because we also have to give hope to the next generation.”
The 29-year-old Tau admitted that his age motivates him to give every tournament a full go, realising that retirement is now fast approaching. “The Lion of Judah”, as Tau is nicknamed, has 39 caps for Bafana.
“As you get older the motivation for success gets higher because you get to realise that your time is coming to an end. So every moment starts to be important to you, how you look after yourself, because you know that you don’t have time. So try to make sure you win every tournament you play in,” Tau said.
Tau also weighed in on coach Hugo Broos’ statement that the training sessions won’t be as intense as usual because several players came fatigued due to a hectic fixture programme at club level.
“It’s tricky because I think the games will be more intense, but I don’t think the whole training programme will be like that. It will be for the first two days that the intensity of training will be low because of the recoveries,” Tau said.
Meanwhile, France-based striker Lebo Mothiba and the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Grant Kekana and Thapelo Maseko have withdrawn from the squad due to injuries, with the Orlando Pirates pair of Evidence Makgopa and Tapelo Xoki, alongside Elias Mokwana of Sekhukhune United, replacing them.
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