Eric Tinkler: Percy Tau must remain disciplined to succeed in Europe

Former Mamelodi Sundowns striker Percy Tau’s move to Brighton & Hove Albion will definitely help the national team in so many ways but he must be focused, that is the view of former Bafana Bafana midfielder Eric Tinkler.

The Bafana legend believes South Africa needs to see many players exported to big leagues, especially if the national side is to qualify for big tournaments such as the Fifa World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations.

Although he admitted that South Africa is not a scouting ground, he credited Sundowns for exposing the players in big competitions such as the Caf Champions League and Fifa Club World Cup.

Just in the past few seasons, the Brazilians released Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly, who are now plying their trade in France.

The 47-year-old coach said these tournaments and the Brazilians’ achievements in recent times have opened doors for the players.

Tinkler was exclusively speaking to Goal on Friday following Tau’s move to English side, Brighton & Hove Albion on a four-year deal.

Although Tau will not be playing in the English Premier League due to complications with acquiring a work permit coupled with his lack of experience in Europe, the Seagulls are set to loan him out, but Tinkler said the 24-year-old must remain disciplined.

The former Cape Town City mentor played for Barnsley in the Premier League, Vitoria Setubal in Portugal as well as Cagliari in the Italian Serie A during his playing days.

He also said the fact the Brazilians have kept coach Pitso Mosimane for many seasons and allowing players to move abroad will help attract more youngsters to play for the reigning Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions.

“Yes definitely, this is good for our football and the league because we need to see many more players going to the EPL. We want to see the national team progressing at big tournaments such as the World Cup and Afcon – we need to export more abroad,” Tinkler told Goal.

“Look, you’ve got to be disciplined, focused take the good with the bad and that is the harsh reality – it is difficult in Europe because you are away from family,” said the legend.

“Away from friends and it’s a new environment, the weather is different from what you are used to and you become miserable,” he continued.

“However, you remember why you are there, why you chose to become a professional footballer and I think it’s too easy for the players here and they see it is a lot harder there,” added the former Cape Town City coach.

“I think there will be many players interested in playing for Sundowns because of their achievements,” explained Tinkler.

“These achievements on the continent have exposed the players to scouts because South Africa is not a good scouting destination to be honest,” he reacted.

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“Their Champions League glory and their progress in going to the Club World Cup exposed the players, and Sundowns have done well you know. So, these things will attract many youngsters to go and play there because they will get a chance to be seen,” responded the Afcon winner.

“I think it is great to see players going to Europe or abroad at a young age because I remember after we won the 1996 trophy, Shoes Moshoeu would go and play at any big league if it wasn’t for his age,” said the former SuperSport United mentor.

“Scouts are looking youngsters and it’s good to see these youngsters going to big leagues at a young age and the country will reap the rewards because it’s really unfortunate in our country where we discover players late in their careers,” he concluded.

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