Tau to open doors for SA players at Club Brugge: Van Heerden

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Long before Percy Tau played at Club Brugge in Belgium, South Africa was represented by former Bafana Bafana international Elrio Van Heerden at the Jupiter Pro League club.

Van Heerden, who spent three years at Club Brugge, playing close to 60 matches, believes that Tau is at the right club and will help him to flourish in Europe.

The difference is that Tau is on loan from English Premier League club Brighton Hove and Albion. Van Heerden says Tau is making good progress at Brugge.

Van Heerden left the country when he was only 19, to join Danish top side FC Copenhagen from their Port Elizabeth based School of Excellence, UPE-FCK. He believes that this is what we need to go back, sending more young players to European leagues.

Currently the KwaZulu-Natal academy and other academies from around the country are doing their bit in exporting talent to smaller leagues in Europe.

The South African U23 national team had the likes of Luther Singh (Portugal), Lyle Foster (Belgium) and there’s more players like Thabo Cele (Portugal), Gift Links and Liam Jordan (Denmark) who are already in that space.

Van Heerden says its good for the players to go to leagues when they will get game time.

Meanwhile, Van Heerden is now coaching Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Madibaz team and is competition for the first time at the University Sports South Africa (USSA) national football championships in Johannesburg this week.

They started playing on Monday and he says his goal is to see the team finishing in the top eight and qualifying to the Varsity cup next year according to Van Heerden.

Van Heerden retired very early from the game, after sometime in Turkey, he came back to settle with Golden Arrows. He stayed for about five years outside the game before turning out for PE Stars in the ABC Motsepe League last season.

The 36-year-old, who scored two goals at the 2008 African Cup of Nations for Bafana Bafana, has more on the transitional period as a coach.

Report by Velile Mnyandu