Bafana Bafana legend Benni McCarthy has tipped Percy Tau to surpass his record as the all-time national team scorer, should he be afforded to opportunity to develop in his favoured position.
Tau, 25, has developed considerably over the past 12 months after helping Club Brugge to the Jupiler Pro League title and becoming the latest South African to play in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions.
Competing at the highest level in Europe, the former Mamelodi Sundowns forward has been touted to become the nation's attacking talisman as he enters the peak of his career and McCarthy admits his long-standing record is there for the taking.
The 2003/04 UEFA Champions League winner netted 31 goals in 81 caps over his 15 years of services for Bafana, while Tau has scored nine in his first 24 appearances.
Scroll through the gallery below to see South Africa's top 10 goalscorers of all-time
Speaking to the South African Football Journalist's Association, the former Cape Town City manager had advised the national team to show Tau the respect he deserves and in return, he will produce the goals expected of him.
"I think Percy Tau has got every quality to succeed in Europe and to surpass me as the Bafana all-time top scorer," McCarthy said. "I think when he's playing for Bafana, they must play him in his most favourable position because the unfortunate part for Percy and he will always have setbacks [beacuse of it] is that he's such a versatile player.
"Coaches take it upon themselves to play him on the wing, to play in behind the number nine. When you have the quality of such a player, you have to ask the player where he's most comfortable and [ask yourself] where are you going to get the best of that player, that is what the coach [Ntseki] has to do with Percy Tau.
"He [Tau] has to play in his best position, where he will be able to play the kind of games that you expect and influential player to play but also get the opportunities to get the ball into the back of the net and change chase that all-time scoring record because a lot of great players have come and they've failed [to break my record]."
With Katelgo Mphela and Bernard Parker showing early promise in their careers to overtake McCarthy's record over the past decade, the former Blackburn Rovers hitman claims Tau will not fail like his predecessors if head coach Molefi Ntseki is able to build the team around the talented forward that evokes the confidence and responsibility as a senior figure.
"It's not that it's such an impossible record to get, it's there for the taking, it must just be taken by a player who is given the right services and opportunities to get the goals," McCarthy explained.
"Percy Tau shouldn't be played out of position every single time. Every time I watch a Bafana match, I see Percy playing in a different position and if he's the most influential player we have, why should he be the one to be sacrificed? [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo they play where they love to play.
"Robert Lewandowski doesn't get played on the right-wing because then you would be depriving the player to get the best of [his talent]."
He added: "If Tau says he's a number nine, then he should be playing number nine and every other good number nine's that the country has. They should compete for that position and not try and makeshift our top player into a wide position and accommodate another who's doing well at their club.
"That's the difficulties when coaches try and find [ways of getting the best out of players]. That's the only way Percy Tau is going to be able to excel in South Africa, wearing that Bafana shirt and then we'll see the goals we know he is capable of scoring. He'll get those goals."