Tough life without Tau, Billiat - Pitso Mosimane
They combined to score 19 of Mamelodi Sundowns' 49 league goals last season, and it's no surprise that coach Pitso Mosimane feels he'll face his most challenging season yet without Khama Billiat and Percy Tau.
Billiat turned down a contract extension to join rivals Kaizer Chiefs, while a move to English side Brighton & Hove Albion is being finalised for Tau, leaving a gaping hole in Mosimane's attack as Sundowns return to action on Tuesday in the CAF Champions League.
Speaking to Sowetan this week, Mosimane conceded he'll have trouble replacing the duo and called for calm among the Sundowns fans, imploring them to brace for some turbulence ahead.
"You can't say you won't struggle without them," Mosimane said. "The reality is we will lose some momentum. We have lost two important players and that will cause a challenge."
Of the two, Mosimane felt it's the departure of Absa Premiership player of the year Tau that will hit the Brazilians the hardest.
"Percy is the one that will be hard to replace. Khama - we've played without him. He played about 12 games for us last season [it's actually 16]. He was forever injured. But let's be honest, he was effective in the few games he played. Every time he came in he made a big impact, so you can't really say we won't miss him.
"The good thing is we have Vila [Sibusiso Vilakazi] to fill that number 10 role. The problem is at number nine, where Percy was playing."
He said Tau's departure provided an opening for Jeremy Brockie, who had a difficult start to his Sundowns career following a big-money move from SuperSport United.
"Someone else has to step up. Brockie, [Thokozani] Sekotlong, [Cuthbert] Malajila - all these guys have to raise their hand and claim that number nine spot."
Mosimane has spent the better part of Sundowns' three-week pre-season trying to plug the gap left by Tau and Billiat, but said it will take some time.
"We had to take a break even though we have a Champions League match next week [against Togo-Sport]. I haven't had enough time to work on the combinations."