In the past two years, Brighton & Hove Albion player Percy Tau has enjoyed successful loan spells in Belgium.
From scooping the Proximus Player of the Season award at a less-fancied side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise to clinching the Jupiler Pro League title with Club Brugge in his second season in Belgium and also featuring in the UEFA Champions League.
However, the Bafana Bafana star has revealed that life in Europe ‘is a jungle’ where each player looks out for themselves.
“If you’re there expecting a family, you’re not going to get it,” Tau told Teko Modise during a Puma South Africa Instagram Live chat recently.
“You’re alone and the people you’re around are not going to help you. They are not here to babysit you. Everyone is here to either move to the next step, to a bigger club or, if they stay, get a better contract. You have to be very confident.
“If you are too humble, you will lose out. It is a jungle whereby we compete on anything. Even when practicing finishing, we will be competing,” added the 26-year-old.
With constant competition among teammates, the former Mamelodi Sundowns forward says it all boils down to confidence.
“If you are confident, you win. I sent Lyle Foster the same advice, that he needed to be confident and believe in himself. If we are doing a ‘Tissue Challenge’, it is a competition. Anything you do, you are competing and if your confidence dips, they will be on your case every day.
“The first time I spoke to Benni (McCarthy), that was one thing he was critical of. ‘Your (low) confidence overseas is not going to help you,’ he told me.
“When I spoke to Kermit Erasmus at the national team, he said I shouldn’t think about things too much if I’m going to play in the (UEFA) Champions League; I must just score,” said Tau.
Having been signed by Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion from Mamelodi Sundowns in a reported domestic record R50-million deal, the talented forward has spent two separate spells away on loan.
Due to work-permit related issues, Tau, who was signed by the English Premier League (EPL) outfit Brighton from Sundowns, has spent the last two years in Belgium. But he revealed that he regularly communicates with the English club as they constantly monitor his training and fitness levels.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi