Bafana’s Tau happy to resolve Afcon bonuses and ‘other issues’
'I don't think that money was the only issue, there were other issues to sort out,' said Tau.
Percy Tau is one of only three players in the Bafana squad who has played at an Afcon finals before. Picture: GalloImages
Percy Tau is delighted that Bafana Bafana’s players can now focus on a good performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, having signed an agreement with the South African Football Association over bonuses.
The Al Ahly attacker was part of a delegation of senior players that successfully negotiated with Safa, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding announced on Sunday.
“We are happy we were able to finalise everything,” said Tau yesterday.
“I don’t think that money was the only issue, there were other issues to sort out … now we just want to focus on football,” he added, without specifying what those “other issues” were.
Tau is one of only three players in the Bafana squad who have played at an Africa Cup of Nations before, along with captain Ronwen Williams and veteran forward Themba Zwane.
While the 29 year-old is aware of the importance of the role the trio can play in guiding the younger players, he says there hasn’t been too much discussion about the experience of playing in an Afcon finals during their training camp in Stellenbosch.
“The only thing we have said to them is that it is going to be difficult …. that is all we have told them at the moment,” said Tau, who was part of Stuart Baxter’s squad that made it to the quarterfinals in Egypt in 2019.
“Of course when we get to the Ivory Coast there will be more meetings about us being there and the teams we will face. When we arrive that side we will share more about the tournament.”
The first side Bafana will play in Group E is Mali next Tuesday, and one the Eagles’ midfielders is Tau’s teammate at Al Ahly, Aliou Dieng.
Friends turned enemies for a day
The pair could well be on opposing sides of the pitch when the game kicks off at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly stadium.
“It is going to be interesting facing Dieng, hopefully I will be smiling after the game,” added Tau.
As well as being a senior player in the squad, Tau will also have to cope in attack without other overseas-based stars Lyle Foster and Lebo Mothiba. Mothiba is injured, while Foster has asked to be left out of the squad after experiencing difficulties with his mental health.
“It is sad we don’t have the other players (Foster and Mothiba) but it is also the decision of the coach and (because of) other circumstances that came up. We are a confident group, I am one of the senior guys and we will see in training how I form partnerships with other guys, but the responsibility is not solely on me, they also have to come and play. I am confident the other guys will also help me.”