Percy Tau is set to return to the top of the trending list in South Africa with all indications that the Bafana Bafana striker will make his league debut for Brighton Hove & Albion against Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Interestingly, City is the former club of his coach at Anderlecht in Belgium, Vincent Kompany, where Tau was recalled from loan last week. The 26-year-old was handed his first appearance for the Seagulls against English fourth tie campaigners Newport County in the third round of the FA Cup at the weekend.
The Tau frenzy went into overdrive on Sunday when the star player from Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, was introduced with 20 minutes of relegation time left in the game Brighton won 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time. The door for a possible starting berth against City has been swung open because Brighton will be without five key players heading into the game against City at Etihad Stadium.
On Monday, Seagulls head coach Graham Potter confirmed that former Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck; Adam Lallana, the ex-Liverpool midfielder; and Aaron Connolly and Tariq Lamptey, will not recover from injury in time for the game.
Tau, who is popularly known as the Lion of Judah, arrived at Brighton when the team was desperate for points to move away from the bottom segment of the 20-team league. The Seagulls have not won in their last eight league matches and are 17th on the EPL log table – three places above the relegation zone.
In their last league game, Brighton came from 3-1 down to drawing 3-3 with Wolverhampton Wanderers at home on January 2. Against City, Brighton face a side that is unbeaten in their last 13 matches in all competitions and coach Pep Guardiola’s side has won the last six of those.
Already Tau has made an instant impression in his few days at Brighton.
Said the coach during a media conference on Monday, when asked about his assessment on the former Mamelodi Sundowns talisman: “We’re excited to have him. He’s only been with us a few days but you can see his quality. It wasn’t an easy environment to make his debut in, but he got on with it and you could see what he can bring. The lads have taken to him well.”
?? On Percy Tau's debut. ????— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) January 11, 2021
"We're excited to have him. He's only been with us a few days but you can see his quality.
"It wasn't an easy environment to make his debut, but he got on with it and you could see what he can bring.
"The lads have taken to him well."#BHAFC ???? pic.twitter.com/IlBZdYWvwi
In an interview with City Press last week, Tau’s agent Mmatsatsi Sefalafala paid tribute to Kompany for keeping his promise to help his client realise his dream of playing in the EPL.
“When that call came to say ‘this is the time to exercise the recall [from loan at Anderlecht]’, coach Kompany said ‘I still stand by my words, go for it’. It was very motivating because he played in the EPL. He also said he was available whenever Percy needed guidance.”