When Brighton & Hove Albion signed Percy Tau from Mamelodi Sundowns, it was with an eye to the future, knowing he wasn’t quite ready to play in the Premier League.
Then, there was the work permit issue, meaning the club had to wait for him to gain extra caps for South Africa and for the Bafana Bafana to go up in the world rankings.
That’s why two loans were sorted out in the meantime, first at Royale Union Saint Gilloise in Belgium’s second tier, before a move to Club Brugge was agreed for the current season in the Jupiler Pro League.
While his first spell went well, his time under Philippe Clément has been a bit tougher, as the forward only started 12 games from a possible 29 in the league, managing 30 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals and assisting another eight.
For his former teammate at Mamelodi Sundowns Anele Ngcongca, this isn’t all that surprising.
Speaking to Sowetan Live, he said: “I said when he went to Brugge that it was going to be difficult for him. As much I know him very well as a good player‚ he works very hard‚ a very humble boy‚ every time he goes to the national team he will have a problem to get back into the team at Brugge.
“If you look at Simon Mignolet‚ the goalkeeper of Brugge who was at Liverpool‚ it tells a story that they’ve got quality. Percy is used to Sundowns‚ or his second division team – which was a league that I said before was way too easy for him – where he could come back with an injury and walk straight back in.
“The advice I would have given is simple. I don’t know if he’s staying‚ but for me‚ I wanted Percy to go to Genk. Because that’s what I heard before. I got so many calls from the director of Genk. And the person who wanted Percy was Philippe Clément.
“I said before he left to join Brighton – and I’m not a negative person‚ but I say what I feel – that yes‚ it was a good move‚ but was he going to go back and play for Brighton? Then they send him on loan after loan. It’s disturbing his career‚ of course”.
Furthermore, the right-back called on Tau to ‘look in the mirror’ in order to try and rediscover that confidence and form that led to the Seagulls gambling on him in the first place.
However, he also made it clear that his advice now would be for him to ‘end his ownership by Brighton and find a permanent team that could help his career in Europe’.
Tau is under contract at the Amex Stadium until 2022.