South Africa have just qualified for the African Cup of Nations, to the joy of South African football lovers and authorities, as preparation begins for the South African Football Association ahead of the championship in Egypt.
However, this qualification would not have been possible if not for one player who took his side back to the promise land on the African stage. This is no other player but Percy Tau.
The player might not have generated as many headlines as he should, probably because he doesn't play for a major European club side, but he deserves a lot of commendation and admiration.
He might not have amassed the level of popularity of other African stars like Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Sadio Mane (Senegal and Liverpool), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Arsenal) but he deserves some appreciation.
Tau has arguably done more than these players at the international level as he almost single-handedly steered his side to the African Cup of Nations qualification. It was very impressive seeing the left footer open the scoring against Libya, in their final qualification match, with a goal full of power, precision, class, and a great level of awareness around the opposition's box.
It was a goal that signified his confidence and class as it forced the North Africans to chase the game in Tunisia. The second goal was even better; with his right foot, he found the top right corner leaving the Libya goalkeeper with no chance to save it, as he completed his brace.
He could have even scored a hat-trick as he was put through on goal after he had scored twice later in the match but he could not add to his tally in what was a spirited display versus the Libya side.
He was also very instrumental all through the qualifiers, performing very creditably against African giants, Nigeria, during the qualifying series.
Tau was pivotal in defeating the Super Eagles 0-2 in Uyo, sealing the victory with the second goal after a sweeping counter-attacking move. He also performed creditably in the return fixture, splitting the Nigeria defence to score the equaliser in a 1-1 home draw.
When the best players in Africa are mentioned, like Riyad Mahrez, Alex Iwobi, Naby Keita, Mo Salah, Balde Keita, Eric Baily, Kwadoh Asamoah, Sadio Mane, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it might not be out of place to include the impressive Percy Tau, whose skills and immense ability has been evident for all to see in recent time.Published 30 Mar 2019, 04:27 IST