Percy Tau's small steps to his dream
Fans of Belgian outfit Club Brugge are warming up to Bafana Bafana international, Percy Tau.
This is a club that could pave the way for Tau to play in the English Premiership (EPL) for Brighton & Hove Albion.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns star was on fire during his Club Brugge debut as they beat Sint-Truiden 6-0 on Friday. He played 81 minutes in this Jupiler Pro League clash and wrote his name on the scoresheet with a well taken goal.
Tau, 25, is on loan at Brugge from Brighton, because he still cannot secure a work permit to play in England.
He spent last season with Belgian second division club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, also because he failed to get a work permit to play for Brighton following his move from Sundowns, on a four-year contract.
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Gilloise, a lower league side, was never going to pave way for Tau to play in the EPL, even though he was the league's player of the season.
Club Brugge, however, are the right club for Tau. His dream of playing in the EPL may be fulfilled after the 2019/2020 season. This is how:
You may have noticed that Zimbabwean midfielder Marvellous Nakamba, who incidentally used to play for Club Brugge, has moved to EPL side, Aston Villa. There are, however, reports that he may not get his work permit, but Aston Villa, who paid £12m (R216m) for him, are confident and have even unveiled him as their signing.
Nakamba is making the switch despite the fact that Zimbabwe are ranked 112 in world football. So why is Tau not able to secure a permit while Bafana Bafana are ranked higher than Zimbabwe at number 70?
According to premierleague.com, "Players with passports from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area need permission to work in the UK."
Bafana's Kamohelo Mokotjo managed to join English Championship side Brentford two years ago, because he held a Dutch passport.
In order to be granted an automatic work permit to play in England, the player must have played a certain percentage of their national team's matches over the past two years, with that percentage being decided by the country's Fifa ranking.
Tau - a regular with Bafana - could get an automatic work permit, but the trouble is Bafana are ranked outside the top 50.
"If the player does not automatically meet these criteria, the club can request an FA Exceptions Panel [to] consider the player's experience and value in order to determine whether a governing body endorsement should nevertheless be granted.
"The UK home office has a points-based system based on which clubs must apply to the FA for a governing body endorsement for players, who don't get an automatic work permit.
"However, there's a primary and secondary points system and if a player scores four or more points in the primary points system, then he could be granted a work permit.
"If the player scores less than four points, then the secondary points system comes into play and a total of five points over the two systems must be accumulated for him to be recommended for a permit."
Brighton reportedly paid €3,5-million (R62-million). Tau is way off the mark of the reported set€15-million mark.
But depending on his salary, he could earn three points, if it's higher than normal.
Tau could also earn a point for playing in the Uefa Champions League from the group stage onwards and this is why Brighton's technical director Dan Ashworth expressed his delight.
"This is a great move for Percy. It's a step up to the next level in Belgium, and he also has the prospect of Champions League football," Ashworth said.
Tau is set to make his Uefa Champions League debut tomorrow when Club Brugge take on Ukranian side, Dynamo Kiev, in the third round of the qualifiers, with the return leg set for a week later.
Should Club Brugge progress, they will have a playoff round, before the group stage.
It's a tough journey for Tau, but there's now hope of him to end up playing in England.
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