Percy Tau suspended for Sundowns’ first group stage clash against Wydad
Mamelodi Sundowns’ hopes of an emphatic start to their Caf Champions League campaign have been handed a blow with the absence of key striker Percy Tau‚ whose innocuous bookings in the previous round could come back to haunt the club.
Tau‚ who is odds-on favourite to be named the best player in the country at the Premier Soccer League awards later this month‚ could yet cost his side dear after being cautioned in both legs of Sundowns’ preliminary round victory over Rayon Sport of Rwanda.
He misses out on Saturday night when the Brazilians host holders Wydad Casablanca in their opening Group C game at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville (kickoff: 9pm).
He was booked in the away leg in Kigali against Rayon where Sundowns drew and then again in the return at Loftus Versfeld‚ where the Brazilians went through 2-0 on aggregate.
Both yellow cards seemed unnecessary and highlight how players need to keep both their tongue and tempers in check and be more circumspect in their tackling‚ or they effectively can hurt their own clubs.
In the Confederation of African Football (Caf) club competitions‚ two bookings result in an automatic one-match suspension. A red card is also a one-game suspension.
Sundowns are now likely to have to turn to Khama Billiat to lead the line upfront.
Although he scored in Sundowns’ last game against Ajax Cape Town‚ there is now visible frustration at the club over the frequent absences of the Zimbabwe international‚ who is continually falling prey to injury.
Billiat is not expected to renew his contract when it expires at the end of June and his coach Pitso Mosimane seems to have resigned himself to losing the prolific forward.
Albeit that Billiat’s lightweight frame comes in for a pounding from opposing defenders‚ the Sundowns’ coaching staff have made it privately clear that they are not always convinced that the Zimbabwe international is genuinely injured.
Last month‚ coach Mosimane also showed his irritation when reporters questioned him again about Billiat’s contract status.
“We’ve spoken about the Khama story repeatedly. We are getting bored about Khama. The story of Khama‚ let’s not talk about because it’s annoying having to give the same answer‚” said Mosimane.
Zimbabwe star Billiat‚ 27‚ is expected to try to find a club in Europe this off-season.
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