Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has explained why Percy Tau was omitted from the latest national team squad despite returning to fitness with club side Al Ahly.
The South Africa men's national team is set to return to international duty next week when Bafana Bafana take on Mozambique and Angola in two international friendlies at the Mbombela Stadium, with the matches scheduled for 17 and 20 November, respectively.
Head coach Hugo Broos announced his final 23-man squad for the double-header on Tuesday but vice-captain Percy Tau remained a notable absentee, having last reported for national duty in June for South Africa's 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Morocco.
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This is due to the fact that the 28-year-old has been plagued by injury in recent times and he has only recently returned from a hamstring injury sustained towards the end of last season, a blow which was ultimately factored into his latest exclusion.
"I think a player like Percy Tau fits in every plan of every coach, let that be clear," Broos said. "But when you see what happened with him in the last year, he went from one injury to another, and then between two injuries he recovered, and then he played two or three games before being injured again.
"So, he didn't play because of injuries against Ethiopia, he didn't play against France. He was injured every time. And now again, at the end of the season in June, he got injured again and he is just recovering now. He played 18 minutes and 4 minutes [for Al Ahly] in the last three months.
"I don't think it's a good plan to take Percy now, certainly not for him because he is not at 100 percent. He needs games, he needs games. He is not at 100 percent so why call him up?
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"We did it before because, for me, Percy has to be one of the most important players in our team, so we did it before but if you saw his performances [last year] in September against Ghana and Zimbabwe, and then again in November, this was not Percy.
"That was not Percy at 100 percent and he's not at 100 percent now. Yes, he is fit, but he doesn't have enough minutes. He has to play now, and again let's hope that if he doesn't succeed in getting his position at Al Ahly, that in January he finds another team where he can play.
"I would be very happy to see that, at Al Ahly or with another team, so that at last we will have the real, 100 percent Percy Tau in March for the two games against Liberia."
To date, Tau has scored 13 goals in 36 appearances for Bafana Bafana and is the country's joint-seventh leading goalscorer of all time, level with Sibusiso Zuma and just three strikes behind Siyabonga Nomvethe in the all-time goalscoring chart.
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