Futaa's Indispensables series looks at key men who their countries simply cannot do without if they are to taste glory in Egypt this year. Introducing 25-year-old South African striker Percy Tau.
Tau in a nutshell 🥜
Brighton & Hove Albion snapped Percy Tau up from South African Premier Soccer League club where he was nicknamed "The Lion" and it's been quite a rise to international stardom for him ever since.
Tau has yet to don the blue and white of Brighton as he is yet to receive a work permit to play in England, but Brighton has loaned him out to Belgian club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise so that he can gain European experience. He'll also need to pick up a certain amount of caps for Bafana Bafana in order to speed up the work permit process.
Tau was a key cog in Bafana's qualifying campaign, scoring four times and assisting once in six appearances. He's technically-gifted, creative and an excellent utilizer of space. In an ideal world, he operates off the right-hand side of the attack or just tucked in behind a sole striker. Tau's patience and ability to hold onto the ball is a valuable and unique skill set in the Bafana camp. His first touch is often golden.
Supporting cast 🎭
Thembinkosi Lorch showed why he is so highly regarded at Orlando Pirates with a crucial 85th-minute winner against Egypt to knock the host nation out of the tournament. Lorch's pace and directness is a perfect foil for Tau's thoughtful creativity and use of the ball. It remains to be seen whether Lorch starts tonight but he'll make an impact either way.
Brentford midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo has plenty of European experience after captaining Eredivisie side FC Twente, and Bafana will need his assured touches and decision making if they are to get the better of Nigeria in the quarterfinals.
Wildcard to watch 🃏
Mamelodi Sundowns attacking midfielder Sibu Vilakazi has to settle for a place on Bafana's bench, but he has the ability to make things happen when his side needs an extra touch of creativity and unpredictability. The 29-year-old was voted the PSL player of the year in 2014.
Next match 🗓
South Africa takes on Nigeria on Wednesday night in the round of 16 and you can follow it live on Futaa. Kickoff is at 22:00 EAT.