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Percy Tau (24) burst onto the scene in 2016 when he played for Mamelodi Sundowns, and earlier this year joined Belgian second division side Royale Union Saint Gilloise for R35 million, in a contract until 2022. 

He displayed his prowess on the soccer field by scoring on his European debut. This happened while he was on loan to Brighton & Hove Albion, in England.

Importantly, the triumphant Tau has not forgotten the value of education as he pursues his studies. His advice to a young person is to take their education seriously. With this purpose in mind, he encourages his peers in the sporting fraternity to finish school and obtain a qualification which would sustain them when their game ends.

“Should anything happen to one’s career in football or sports, life goes on without much struggle if they were educated,” Tau says.

He states that academic excellence is a stepping stone to greatness, and if one combines it with sports, a good balance in life is maintained. Sports, according to him, teach one the discipline of practice and pursuing excellence. It gives one determination, tenacity and the ability to appreciate teamwork. For this reason, academic pursuit and sports complement each other.

Born in Witbank, Mpumalanga, the centre forward also plays for the South African national team, Bafana Bafana. He was included in the squad for the club’s CAF Champions League campaign. He featured throughout and played every minute of both legs of a 3–1 aggregate win over Egyptian side, Zamalek, in the CAF Champions League Final. The victory was Sundowns’ first-ever triumph in a continental competition.

If anyone suggested this was a fluke, during the 2017–18 season, Tau scored 11 goals to help Mamelodi Sundowns to the league title. He made his debut for South Africa on October 17 2015. Concerned about the below-par performance of Bafana Bafana, Tau told the media that it was about time that the team started to participate regularly in these major tournaments.  

Tau is an inspiration to the youth by always remembering to share his success with his family and community. His mother, in an interview with the Sunday Times, was beaming with pride after he built her an impressive home. Single parent Elizabeth raised Tau along with his seven siblings. “I raised all of them with my hard work as a single parent since 1998 until now.” 

But all that changed when her son made his professional debut with Mamelodi Sundowns, Elizabeth says. “It was difficult I won’t lie to you. But things changed for the better in 2014 and it was him, Percy, who changed everything. He changed our lives for the better and even now I still can’t believe it is me.”