SoccerSport

Tau’s hour to roar inches closer

Will he rise to occasion to silence Cimbom?

By Amos Mananyetso

South African football sensation Percy Tau will on Wednesday begin his Uefa Champions League dream when he faces some of Europe’s top players such as Colombian superstar Falcao and Dutch delight Ryan Babel.
Tau’s Belgian side Brugge will welcome Turkish giants Galatasaray in the opening group stages match of their Group A.

According to two South Africans who previously plied their trade in Turkey, Tau should count his lucky stars that the draw gave them Galatasaray first at home. Former Bafana Bafana players Steve Komphela and Maimane Phiri believe that this will help Tau understand
the behaviour of Turkish supporters ahead of the return leg in November. Komphela, who played for Gaziantepspor in the 1990s, warned however, that Tau and his teammates were not completely off the hook as Turkish supporters were known for traveling in numbers
and that Turks were generally widely spread on the continent as expats.

The Golden Arrows coach said Tau must expect a loud stadium in which he would not be able to hear his teammates speak to him on the pitch because of the singing.

“They lead their team with well-coordinated chants, songs and slogans which are sometimes written on placards. Luckily there’s not much country- to-country tensions between Belgium and Turkey.
“The aggressive loud support becomes even more when Turkish teams play against Greek teams due to tensions between the two countries. “Galatasaray or Cimbom (pronounced Jimbom) are true fire. They literally light the stadium with flares. They are a loving people outside the field but crazy and uncompromising inside the stadium. They are feared by all in Europe. I hope he uses the warm-up time to feel the ambiance,” explained Komphela.

Phiri, who played for three Turkish sides including Genclerbirligi, said Tau’s biggest moment will come in November when they visit Galatasaray.

“The first encounter with the supporters will be at the airport where they will try and intimidate them. It continues to the hotel where the fans camp outside and sing continuously throughout the night,” said Phiri.

“On match day, travelling to the stadium will take them longer than expected, even with an escort, because of the traffic going to the stadium.
“By the time they do pitch inspection, 40% of the stadium will already be occupied by home supporters as they come very early to the stadium.
“When they come out for warm-up they must anticipate home fans to throw small coins at them even when they walk back into the tunnel after warm up. By then the stadium would be 80-90% full.

“By the time the game starts, the stadium will be full house with the singing at maximum levels.”

If Tau has to score on Wednesday, the South African goal poacher, who was once in the books of Mamelodi Sundowns, would have to go past tough DR Congo defender Christian Luyindama and former Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina of Gabon.