Music to Bafana coach Stuart Baxter’s ears as Belgian club rests Percy Tau

Bafana Bafana striker Percy Tau celebrates after scoring for his Belgian club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in a Cup match to advance to the quarterfinals.
Bafana Bafana striker Percy Tau celebrates after scoring for his Belgian club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in a Cup match to advance to the quarterfinals.
Image: Royale Union Saint-Gilloise/Facebook

Percy Tau is set to return to action this weekend with Belgian second-tier side Royal Union St-Gilloise after missing their previous game with a slight foot injury and fatigue.

Tau sat out the 2-0 victory over top-flight Royal Excel Mouscron as Union continued their perfect start to the Uefa Europa League playoffs‚ but has been tipped to return against Waasland-Beveren on Saturday.

Union did not risk Tau in midweek‚ saying the slight injury and the fact that the striker was fatigued after a busy season following his exploits for the team and Bafana Bafana‚ meant they had left him out as a precaution.

That will be music to the ears of Bafana coach Stuart Baxter‚ who will hope the club wraps him in cotton wool for the remainder of the season with the 24-year-old a potential star of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt in June and July.

Tau used the time on the sidelines this week to visit his mother club Brighton & Hove Albion‚ where he hopes to play next season and fulfill his dream of becoming a Premier League star‚ if he can get a work permit.

Brighton keep a close eye on Tau and scrutinise every one of his performances to monitor his progress in Belgium.

He was sent on loan to Union as both clubs are owned by property mogul and professional poker player Tony Bloom‚ so the flow of information between the two teams is strong.

Union missed out on promotion to the top-flight‚ but the unusual structure of the Belgian league means they now have the opportunity to qualify for the Europa League.

Perhaps more interestingly for Tau‚ it is a chance for him to test himself against top-flight opposition over the coming months.

The playoffs see the 12 competing teams split into two pools‚ each containing six sides.

The winners of the two pools will meet for a place in the playoff finals‚ where they will challenge the side that finishes fourth in the Belgian Uefa Champions League playoffs for a place in the Europa League next season.

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