Thursday Jan 23, 2020. 12:00
South Africa national team coach Molefi Ntseki has revealed his thoughts on Percy Tau’s struggles in Belgium and backed the striker to come through a difficult spell in his career.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns attacker has battled for game time at Club Brugge of late and was recently warned by coach Philippe Clement for not being available for full training during the winter break.
With an international break looming in March – in which Bafana Bafana will resume their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign with back-to-back matches against minnows Sao Tome & Principe – Ntseki is naturally concerned by a potential lack of playing time for one of his key players.
“Look, it’s a worry for every player you have in Bafana Bafana if he’s not playing at club level. It becomes an issue. It becomes a problem,” Ntseki said, as quoted by Kick Off.
“Because you want to see your players playing regularly, you want to see players effective in the game wherever they are. You want to see your players defending in terms of their defensive role and scoring or assisting goals.”
The SA coach added, “If you have a player who is not playing you become worried, and in this case I think he overloaded himself by playing in the UEFA Champions League and being in the national team trying very hard.
“The game we played against Ghana away and the one we played with Sudan at home [both in November 2019], if you look at the programme in playing those matches it took a lot of energy out of a lot of players. Most of them struggled when they went back to their teams overseas.
“Because South Africa is different. If you are from Ghana it will be less than six hours to any European country where you are playing. But of you are in South Africa it’s 12-plus hours to get to your team, so the travelling itself and the load that you put into your game also affects some of our players.”
Ntseki, though, reckons it is only a matter of time until Tau is back to his peak form: “I think he’s a professional. I can tell you now that wherever he is, he is working very hard to get to that level because he’s a very disciplined individual who is committed to the game.”