Stuart Baxter has called on Percy Tau’s Belgian club Union SG to not ‘wrap him in cotton wool’, as he wants a battle-hardened Tau at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in two months’ time.
Bafana will face Ivory Coast, Namibia and Morocco in Group D at the continental showdown and Baxter believes that his side’s opponents will target star man Tau.
The Brighton & Hove Albion loanee has been rested in rested in recent week by his Belgian club, but Baxter has instead asked for a different approach to help Tau be in top condition for the tournament.
‘Big players win big games. You can’t protect people by wrapping them up in cotton wool. The easy way is not a good teacher, and Percy has got to where he is by working hard and taking some knocks.
‘When Chris Houghton (Brighton manager) called me and asked about Percy Tau, he asked if he works hard enough and if he is strong enough. And I said, ”he played against [Senegal’s] Kalidou Koulibaly [Napoli] and didn’t get knocked around.”
‘If you look at the Burkina Faso centre backs, they are almost two metres and are about 150 kilos, both of them. And yet Percy was in and out of them and they couldn’t catch him. So rather than wrap him in cotton wool and say we don’t want them to target him, well go on and target him,’ he concluded.
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