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South African Percy Tau Finally Gets His Chance with Brighton as Brexit Clears Way

Percy Tau had simply been voted the most effective participant in South Africa when he secured a transfer to the Premier League. It was July 2018, and he was becoming a member of Brighton for the largest price ever for a domestic-based South African participant.

“Hopefully I can make some great memories,” Tau mentioned upon becoming a member of the south-coast membership from South African champion Mamelodi Sundowns for two.5 million kilos (3.four million {dollars}).

And he has been making many reminiscences since touching down in Europe two-and-a-half years in the past. In Belgium, although, reasonably than in England.

The Bafana Bafana striker has been residing one thing of a nomadic existence, having did not get a piece allow to allow him to play for Brighton within the worlds hottest soccer league due to South Africa’s low FIFA rating.

Instead, whereas nonetheless formally owned by Brighton, he was despatched out on mortgage to a few completely different Belgian golf equipment: one within the second division Royal Union Saint-Gilloise, which he helped to the league title and an surprising run to the Belgian Cup semifinals in 2019 after which for the nation’s two greatest groups, Club Brugge and most just lately Anderlecht.

Despite being ushered down an surprising path, Tau by no means misplaced hope of someday getting his probability within the Premier League. “I always believed one day it would happen, he said. I just didn’t know when.”

It wanted Britain to finalize its protracted departure from the European Union to alter all the things for the 26-year-old Tau.

Brexit has led to a change within the qualification standards for overseas gamers hoping to play in England. While it’s now tougher for English groups to signal European gamers particularly children due to the top of freedom of motion for EU nationals, a brand new factors system takes into consideration a gamers appearances at home degree in European leagues in addition to these for the nationwide staff.

With three seasons underneath his belt in Belgium, which included taking part in within the Champions League with Brugge, Tau handed the brink. He was granted a piece allow in the beginning of the month and recalled from his mortgage spell at Anderlecht, which he was midway by means of, on Jan. 7.

Within three days, he was taking part in in an FA Cup match in opposition to Newport in Wales. Three days later, he was beginning in opposition to Manchester City in his first Premier League match.

“I thought there were glimpses of what he can do,” Brighton supervisor Graham Potter mentioned of Tau’s efficiency at Etihad Stadium. “And he’ll get higher the longer he is with us. He’s obtained loads of time.”

Before final week, Tau had by no means educated with Brighton, solely ever watching the staff on TV. He mentioned he had by no means spoken to Potter up till that time, both.

Indeed, Potter wasn’t the supervisor when Tau signed for the membership, with Chris Hughton in cost at the moment earlier than getting fired within the offseason of 2019.

Having thrown Tau in for 2 video games, it appears Potter is already an enormous fan of the South African. And that can thrill his legion of followers again house, with Pau having greater than 430,000 followers on Twitter and his video games producing a buzz again in South Africa.

His 68-minute exhibiting in opposition to City the place he confirmed good approach, a flip of tempo and trickery on the ball was sufficient to underline the risk he’ll pose for opposition defenses this season, even when he spent a lot of the sport monitoring again because the opposing staff dominated possession and territory. His greatest place will possible be simply behind the striker, or in one of many two vast positions.

His qualities have been honed within the first half of this season at Anderlecht, whose supervisor is Vincent Kompany Man City’s former title-winning captain.

“I do know Brighton are watching you from the Premier League,” Kompany said after signing Pau in August. “Well do our best to bring you there.”

And he’s lastly made it. “It’s exciting for him and it’s exciting for us. Now we need to help him settle in,” Potter said. “He must get to know his teammates and the staff. We need to assist him take the subsequent step in his profession.”

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