- Bafana Bafana and Brighton & Albion forward Percy Tau will miss out on national duty for South Africa at the Tokyo Olympic Games
- The Premier League club reportedly refused to release Tau for the Olympics assignment, the reasons of which are currently unknown
- Thibang Phete, the second over-age SA Under-23 player and one of three alongside Tau, as well as Sphephelo Sithole, were also denied releases from their respective overseas-based clubs
The South Africa Under-23 squad will be a player poorer as Brighton & Hove Albion have reportedly denied Percy Tau a crack at the Tokyo Olympic Games, which run from 23 July to 8 August.
The services of arguably the country’s current best player would have been a welcome inclusion to coach David Notoane, who revealed that Tau would no longer be making an appearance at the Asian global spectacle.
Albion's reasons for declining to release the forward are presently unclear with the 27-year-old initially being an integral part of Notoane's plans as one of three over-aged players included in the squad.
Defender Thibang Phete, whose Portuguese Primeira club Belenenses SAD has also refused to release him, according to the Goal website, joins Tau in missing out on an unprecedented showing at the event.
“But coming to the end of the season, you find out there are a lot of issues the players had to navigate, like fatigue. The issue of the foreign-based players like Percy Tau, the club wrote that they are not going to release him," explained Notoane.
Notoane added that clubs are not forced to release players.
"We also have Sphephelo Sithole, whose club [Belenenses SAD], has also indicated that they won’t release him ... remember, these clubs are not obliged, as per Fifa rules, to release these players, hence, we are allowed to register 50 players."
“The scenario before us and to give a clearer picture, some of the players are entering the final year of their respective contracts. So, the clubs are putting pressure on them to prove that they are worth being given new contracts,” said Notoane.
"When we engage the players, they have put their cases forward. In as much as you want to push for them to be available, you also think of the long-term benefits of these players being able to play at the highest level; your Premier League, your Portugal Primeira Liga to benefit Bafana Bafana," added Notoane.
Tau could leave Brighton & Hove Albion to join Royal Antwerp for R67m
Bafana Bafana and Brighton & Hove Albion striker Percy Tau could find himself playing in Belgium next season.
This comes after media reports suggesting that Royal Antwerp has shown interest. Tau recently made it clear, per a Briefly News report, that he would like to remain with the English Premier League side and establish himself there.
According to KickOff, the former Mamelodi Sundowns striker could make his way to Belgium after Antwerp reportedly tabled a whopping €4 million (R67 million) offer to the Seagulls.
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Source: Briefly News