Tau's Bafana Bafana call-up in doubt

SA National Teams

Bafana Bafana could be without Percy Tau's services for this month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan.

Football's world governing body FIFA recently extended a Covid-19 exemption that allows clubs not to release their players for international duty if doing so would result in the players having to quarantine for a period of five or more days on their return.

South Africa, as with other countries such as Portugal and Brazil, are currently on the United Kingdom's so-called Red List which requires persons arriving in the UK from nations on the list to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period.

According to The Athletic, Premier League cubs have privately raised the issue of using the FIFA exemption to prevent players in this category from leaving for international duty, and are hoping that the Football Association will support any collective decision to this effect.

Scroll through the gallery to see Molefi Ntseki's full 26-man Bafana Bafana squad

Should this be supported, it is possible that Brighton & Hove Albion could prevent Tau from joining up with his Bafana Bafana teammates in order to avoid a situation where the 26-year-old is forced into quarantine upon his return to England.

These concerns have also been raised in public by two of the league's most prominent voices, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer both revealing their opposition to the upcoming international break.

"The players are paid by the clubs so that means we have to be the first priority. You cannot make everyone happy in this period of our lives," Klopp said, per BBC Sport. "We are not 100% sure because it's not clear, as some countries might change the venues where they play.

"You always have to wait until the last second pretty much because people need time to make decisions. I think everybody agrees that we cannot let the players go and come back and quarantine for 10 days in a hotel - that's not how we can do it."

Solskjaer added, "That's a chat we'll have with the players. It doesn't make sense to travel, when we are paying them, if they come back and are away for 10 days."

Should the Premier League clubs proceed to not release their players, the decision could spark a snowball effect across the world which could have serious implications on the Bafana Bafana squad, with eight other overseas-based players called-up to the national team by Molefi Ntseki.

This group includes Bongani Zungu (Scotland), Dean Furman (England), Thulani Serero (UAE), Keagan Dolly (France), Siyanda Xulu (Israel), Thibang Phete, Luther Singh and Lyle Foster (Portugal).

A decision is expected to be made during the course of the next week, before South Africa take on Ghana in their penultimate 2021 AFCON qualifier on 25 March, and Sudan three days later.

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