Comment: Was a move to Belgium's First Division B what Percy Tau's career needed?

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Goal takes a look at Percy Tau's move to Belgium's Second Division side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise

The South African football fraternity is still celebrating the fact that one of the most promising stars has recently landed a contract in Europe.

Striker Percy Tau left Mamelodi Sundowns last month to join Brighton & Hove Albion in the English Premier League for a fee in excess of R50 million fee, reports suggested.

Although the Premier League side sees the 24-year-old the Bafana Bafana international as a massive investment for their future, a lack of European experience as well difficulty in attaining work permit has prompted the club to send him out on loan.

Just this week, the Seagulls announced that the Witbank-born player will play his football at Belgian Second Division side, Royale Union Saint-Gilloise on a season-long loan deal .

Goal takes a look at the move, and whether or not it will benefit the former Sundowns talisman, or is this a move backwards in his career.

Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns v Barcelona - May 16 2018

Since Bongani Khumalo's move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2010 from SuperSport United, there has not been a South African who has made the jump from the comforts of South African football and Tau's move does give a glimmer of hope regarding the development of local football.

Just like Khumalo, who has since returned to the PSL, it is not easy to make your way to the Premier League and become a regular – as he spent several stints away from the Lily Whites.

However, based on Brighton's persistence and belief in the player's ability to break down stubborn defenses, Tau will surely grow in Belgium.

To many, the fact that he has joined a side plying its trade in the Second Division of the Belgian professional league setup is seen as a step back, but it is not.

A brief look at the club and their history is apparent. They are regarded as one of the most successful teams in Belgium having won 11 First Division titles, but are now hoping to return to First Division A.

Moreover, based on the latest rankings of Belgian clubs released last weekend, Tau's new club has been ranked at number 18 ahead of top clubs such as Eupen, Westerlo and Lierse – this could mean Tau will get the best of development as far as European football is concerned.

For some, the argument is why Brighton failed to secure him a move to the top tier? This is perhaps due to the Seagulls owner Tony Bloom is a major shareholder at the club this could have influenced the move.

Percy Tau PS

With Tau's ability and talent coupled with professionalism, he may not struggle to adapt to European football and because it is his first opportunity playing away from home, the second division could offer him the right platform to grow and get used to the new environment.

For now, what is important for Tau is to gain regular game time in Europe and in most cases, the second division tends to be tougher than the first. 

As there is not much pressure to win trophies in the second tier, but on gaining promotion, this may not put too much pressure on him and his focus will only be on the technical and tactical demands of the European game and standards.

With age on his side, Tau will reap the rewards in Belgium and it will not be a surprise to see him making the headlines in the next few weeks as well as making his way back to the Premier League in the next season.

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In addition, he must ensure that he improves on decision making in the final third as well as finding the back of the net regularly, and those skills could come through and get polished in Belgium.

After all, it has been his dream to follow the likes of Steven Pienaar, Quinton Fortune and others who made headlines in one of world football's biggest leagues. 

 

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