PERCY TAU’S record R50 million transfer to English Premiership side Brighton and Hove Albion inched a step closer yesterday on a day Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung again defended his club’s signing of Zimbabwean forward Khama Billiat.
Both Tau and Billiat were key members of the Sundowns side that won the CAF Champions League and were also crowned champions of South African football.
Billiat had been expected to move to Europe after he allowed his contract at Sundowns to run down, but he shocked many by choosing to sign for Chiefs on a three-year deal.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane revealed his club could not match the huge financial demands which Billiat and his management team tabled because, doing so, would have destroyed the team.
The Zimbabwe international was signed as a free agent and is set to be the highest paid footballer in the South African Premiership.
While Billiat remained in Super Diski, his 24-year-old former teammate, Tau, is now poised to move to the English Premiership where he will join Brighton and Hove Albion in a R50 million deal.
Tau has been forcing a move to the English Premiership, after some resistance from Sundowns, and chose to stay away from the club’s pre-season camp in protest.
He has also been inundating Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe with text messages asking the wealthy businessman to sanction his move to Europe.
Sundowns released a statement earlier this week in which Motsepe “gave instructions to the management to finalise the deal.”
Tau will now be free to undergo a medical examination and discuss personal terms with the club, however, to play in England, he would need a work permit.
The 24-year-old has been capped 12 times for South Africa, and was named the Footballer of the Year in the Premier Soccer League in 2018, after scoring 11 goals in 30 league appearances.
“Mamelodi Sundowns is pleased to announce that the President of Mamelodi Sundowns Dr Patrice Motsepe gave instructions to the management to finalise the deal with Brighton & Hove Albion FC (Brighton) after Percy Tau and his agent came to see him and apologised for disclosing confidential information to the media and for Percy Tau not reporting for training,” the club said.
If the deal goes through it could make Tau the most expensive player from the South African Premier Soccer League.
Motaung yesterday made it clear Amakhosi acted above board in prying Khama Billiat away from Mamelodi Sundowns.
Chiefs looked to be a step off the pace when their Big Three rivals started making headlines in the transfer market in the off-season.
Orlando Pirates announced nine signings in June — bringing in the likes of Brilliant Khuzwayo, Vincent Pule, Ben Motshwari and Asavela Mbekile — while Sundowns won the race for Andile Jali’s signature last month to go with the acquisitions of Toni Silva and Jose Ali Meza.
Chiefs responded with the high-profile capture of Billiat from Downs, who offered the in-demand Zimbabwean a contract extension prior to his deal expiring at Chloorkop.
The Glamour Boys have also recruited Andriamirado Andrianarimanana, Virgil Vries and Letlhogonolo Mirwa ahead of 2018 /19, but are still looking for a head coach following Steve Komphela’s resignation in April.
“When people are talking about teams buying nine and 10 players, Sundowns announcing Jali and everything, we had our plan and we stuck to it, and we will always do that,” Motaung said.
“It’s like the coach issue, we are not rushing. Black Leopards announced their technical director, it is their plan. We can’t just sign a technical director because of Leopards, it is their plan.”
Motaung is especially pleased with the arrival of Billiat at Naturena.
“People love him, he is a star,” Motaung said.
“I didn’t steal him from anybody. Let’s clear up this factor also. We respect club protocols. Billiat was going overseas, he was a free agent, a free player fortunately.
“He is a talented player and a star. He had to make his choice and a decision.
“We are not doing this to spy or compete with other clubs. He is a quality player, no one was going to say no and I don’t think we did this to spy on anybody.
“We respect Sundowns and their protocols, but the boy was going anywhere. He might have went to Arrows, Chippa or the Arab countries. Fortunately we had the upper hand to sign him.”
Motaung added: “He is enjoying himself and he is happy. We don’t buy players to spy on other clubs, it can hurt you.
“He is coming to enjoy his game in a good environment and a good family. I think he fits in at the club.