Benni McCarthy: Percy Tau's Brighton exit makes it harder for South Africans in the Premier League


Bafana Bafana legend Benni McCarthy believes the nature of Percy Tau's departure from Brighton & Hove Albion could make it harder for South African footballers to make it to the Premier League in the future.

Tau's brief stint in the English top-flight came to an end on Thursday evening when the South Africa international completed a transfer from Brighton to Egyptian giants and reigning African champions, Al Ahly.

The highly-publicised deal has divided opinion among South African supporters, with many hoping to see him break through in the Premier League, and national team record goalscorer McCarthy believes it could impact his countrymen's chances of landing moves to the English top-flight in future.

"I am also a bit taken aback by his decision of going to Al Ahly but he's not gone to just any team," McCarthy told SAFJA. "He's gone to a team where he's always going to live the limelight, but on the African continent.

"And him making that decision, which I know is probably just people's opinion and the way they think in a negative way, has just made it kind of clear that this is what South African players are like, that they don't have strong will power, they don't have a strong mentality, that when the going gets tough, they would rather take themselves out of the equation.

Scroll through the gallery to see where Tau's unveiling at Al Ahly

"As good as Al Ahly is, they are still in Africa. They are not in the European continent, they don't play against the best players in the world, they don't play week in and week out against the Liverpools, Chelseas, Man Uniteds, the Tottenham Hotspurs.

"They play against Pyramids, Arab Contractors, Zamalek. As good as their league is, the fact remains they are in Africa, so for me, it's a massive step down for him. But, hopefully, he gets to play and he gets to do well and he improves every bit.

"The whole reason he went there was to win things, to get himself playing week in and week out and on that front, I understand his point, but personally, I think staying in the Premier League and fighting your guts out [was what he should have done] because you couldn't have been in a better league and in a better position than he was.

"Now it has just eliminated himself, which makes it tougher for South African players to get the opportunity because that's the mentality people will have of us.

"They will look at us and say, 'Ah, this player doesn't play, he's not up for a fight so he'd rather take a step down and go to a lesser league on a different continent than to fight it out and ride the wave when the going gets tough.'"