Baxter: We have to support Percy
Posted: 29 August 2018 Time: 15:40
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has offered his view on Percy Tau’s move to Brighton & Hove Albion, and is confident he will not be deterred by his loan switch to the Belgian second tier.
Tau – called up for national team duty ahead of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya – made a high-profile move to English Premier League outfit Brighton in pre-season.
The 24-year-old though is not eligible for a UK work permit and as such had to be loaned out to afford him game-time as well as experience of European football.
He was thus shipped out to Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, much to the shock of South African supporters who believe the level of football is a step back for the former Mamelodi Sundowns star.
However, Baxter has contacted The Seagulls’ manager Chris Hughton to gain insight on their intentions with Tau, and has since provided feedback on the conversation.
“On Percy’s move, I’ve spoken to Chris Hughton at Brighton, and it’s obvious their strategy with Percy is to hope that he gets his international caps,” explained Baxter.
“And, I don’t think they’re too concerned about where he plays to gain European experience, they just want him to bounce into Europe, collect his caps and then be a part of the Brighton squad.
“That is fraught with obvious problems because an injury would mean he doesn’t get his caps, and that’s a problem for them. But the president of Brighton owns Royale Union, and I think that’s seen as a nice one for him to get a quality player into his club.”
Furthermore, the Scotland-born tactician has also voiced his support for the reigning PSL and KICK OFF Footballer of the Season, and believes his mental fortitude will allow him to continue performing at a competitive level to progress in his journey.
“I think the main part that we have to support Percy on is that the Belgian second division may not present him with the challenge that he wants in the long term, but I’m sure Percy, being the great lad that he is, will approach this in a very professional way and give it all he’s got.
“But he will need some support if it becomes obvious that it’s not the challenge that he really wants. Both Chris and I think also on this side [in South Africa], we need to help Percy on that one.
“But I think Percy, initially, will feel this is great and he’ll be happy to get out and face a new challenge. Hopefully that challenge will be enough to stretch him.”
The fixture against Libya is set for September 8 at the Moses Mahibda Stadium in Durban.