Last July, Mamelodi Sundowns sold Percy Tau, their top scorer from the previous campaign. Despite the sale of their top assist provider, Sundowns retained the league title. The stats show the club has still not replaced the influential talisman.
Shooting and finishing
Tau finished the 2017-18 season with 11 league goals, level for the Golden Boot with Rodney Ramagalela. Sundowns scored a league-high 49 goals, whilst also having more shots per game than any other team. After Tau’s departure, Sundowns managed nine fewer goals in the 2018-19 season, whilst they dropped to having the fourth-most shots as a team. Tau topped the shots leaderboard with 92 shots, whilst this season, Hlompho Kekana’s 73 shots was the highest in the squad. Lebohang Maboe hit eight PSL goals for Downs – their top league goalscorer.
Assists and creating
Tau contributed 12 PSL assists in his final season, with only Jabu Maluleke of Polokwane City provided more. Gaston Sirino provided an incredible 21 assists across all competitions this past, but in PSL action, he was Sundowns’ top assister with just eight. Tau's incredible ability to provide goals for his teammates was missed in the league.
In the absence of Tau (and Khama Billiat, who left for Kaizer Chiefs), Sundowns spread out the responsibility of replacing their impact. Maboe stepped up as the false nine, with Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino performing very well, albeit without Tau-level goal contribution in the PSL. Both players finished in the top four for final third passes per 90 minutes in the league with Sirino on 20.9 (behind only Thembinkosi Lorch’s 21.7) and Zwane on 19.4.
In the 2017-18 season, Sundowns had eight players who contributed two or more league goals and they matched that this past season despite scoring nine goals fewer as a team, which shows that they had goals spread throughout the team instead of a single player stepping up to match Tau's output.
Downs Chasing a Number Nine
The indication by Pitso Mosimane that Percy Tau has not been adequately replaced yet, can be seen in recent comments that he wants to sign a new number nine. He told the media in May, “I think we need another striker. We need a No.9 because Malajila was killed by injuries and Ali Meza had passport issues and went to Venezuela at some point.”
Jeremy Brockie, Toni Silva (before his release) and Emiliano Tade (after his arrival) only scored one PSL goal each, whilst Phakamani Mahlambi contributed just three goals and was described as “very, very raw” on more than occasion by his coach. Meza did not net a single goal in the league.
Do you think Sundowns missed Percy Tau badly? Who would you sign to fill the void ahead of next season? Let us know by commenting below.