Tau told: Don't panic when you step onto Bernabéu

Percy Tau of Club Brugge battles for the ball with Derrick Luckassen of Anderlecht in Belgium.
Percy Tau of Club Brugge battles for the ball with Derrick Luckassen of Anderlecht in Belgium.
Image: Getty Images / Peter De Voecht

Zinedine Zidane came to ask for his shirt after the game so if anyone has the right to offer Percy Tau some advice, as he heads to the iconic Santiago Bernabéu tonight, it is former Bafana Bafana midfielder Bennett Mnguni.

Mnguni scored a Uefa Champions League goal away against Real Madrid in 2002 to crown a performance that earned him a much cherished compliment from one of the world's best players after a display he says was the highlight of his career.

Now Tau is set to follow in the footsteps of the former Mamelodi Sundowns hard man when he goes to Real Madrid with his Belgian outfit Club Brugge tonight (6.55pm) for their Champions League group game.

Mnguni says Tau must believe in his ability as he faces the biggest night of his career.

"There are not many who get a chance to play there. I'd say to him that he needs to keep his head up, try not to make too many mistakes and just be yourself.

"Once you try to be something else, it's not going to work out for you," he warned.

Mnguni played for Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow against Real Madrid in a group game in December 2012, scoring in the 74th minute to put the away side 2-1 ahead, only for Raul to equalise soon after for a 2-2 draw.

"I told myself beforehand to take all that stuff out of my mind and just concentrate on the game," he said.

"I acknowledged that they had very, very talented players and what I needed to do was to go there, work as hard as I could and try to win more balls than I lost.

"I told myself playing against one of the toughest team, just to make sure I was right on top of my opponent."

Mnguni had to mark Zidane.

"It was actually quite easy because he is not the quickest of players but I also knew that if he got the ball before I did, it was trouble," he said.

"I did what the coach asked me to do and after the game Zidane came to me to ask me why I had marked him so closely."

Mnguni, now coaching in the Vodacom League in North West, said, looking back "that is the highlight of my career".

Tau, he reckons, can do the same, if not better.

"With the skill he has got, he can cause a lot of damage."