Percy Tau a lesson for other footballers

New Brighton & Hove Albion striker Percy Tau.
New Brighton & Hove Albion striker Percy Tau.
Image: Brighton & Hove Albion/TWITTER

There is so much negative news at the moment that it is easy for a good story to go unnoticed.

In the midst of all the commissions last week, and the subsequent revelations of corruption and misconduct by some of our high-profile politicians and senior civil servants, broke a story that should have warmed many a heart.

Percy Tau, the sensational Young Lion who is fast becoming the star of the current generation of Bafana Bafana players, completed his BCom degree with the University of South Africa.

Now it is easy for those who have not followed local soccer closely, or Tau’s life history, not to see the significance of this development.

Over the years we have watched the immensely talented young player develop into a household name that he has become.

Raised in a large but poor household, there was never any doubt about Tau’s soccer talent.

But when he first set the soccer scene alight as a high school-going boy who played for Mamelodi Sundowns, many would have wondered if he would go the way of many other superb young stars whose careers were cut short due to life choices.

Tau has, however, shown us that it is possible for a player whose stardom comes at an early age to have his feet firmly on the ground.

Who can forget how the young Tau would take along his school books to study as he travelled with Sundowns to various parts of the continent? Even as he helped his club to win the CAF Champions League, he did not become so big-headed that he would not sit for his matric exams.

Today he earns big bucks after signing with English Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion. Although the team loaned him out to Belgian side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, there is little doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him playing in Europe.

Yet, despite this success, he has seen education important enough for his personal development that he continued to study.

We can only hope that this feat by Tau  will inspire the current generation and mark the beginning of a new trend among local soccer players. For too long we have had stories of players who lived like kings in their heydays but become poor once they retired because they never planned for life beyond hanging up their boots.

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