Brighton's Percy Tau ruled out of Bafana game with positive COVID test

Percy Tau has scored 13 goals in 30 appearances for South Africa, most recently in March against Ghana. PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images

Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Percy Tau has been ruled out of South Africa's friendly against Uganda on Thursday, after testing positive for COVID-19.

Tau is one of six player ruled out entirely [three due to injury], leaving the coaching staff with few high-level options as the squad was only 19-strong to start with for the game in Soweto.

The South African Football Association said in a statement: "The Brighton and Hove Albion player, together with Teboho Mokoena all confirmed testing positive and have duly been withdrawn from the ongoing camp.

"So are Sipho Mbule, Mosa Lebusa, Mothobi Mvala and Rivaldo Coetzee. Lebusa, Mvala, Coetzee are out with an assortment of injuries."

Gauteng, the province in which the game will be played, is currently experiencing a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Bafana, who along with Uganda failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next January, will also be without new head coach Hugo Broos, who has returned to Belgium for his second COVID-19 vaccination.

SAFA added: "Assistant coaches Janevski Cedomir and Helman Mkhalele, who will oversee this game in place of coach Hugo Broos, have called up Denwin Farmer, Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Njabulo Ngcobo of Swallows, and TS Galaxy's Ethan Brooks."

The game will be a good litmus test for the coaching staff as they look towards the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in September, where Bafana will face Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and Ghana in Group G.

The qualifiers were meant to be played in June, but were delayed due to the pandemic, and were thus replaced by this Uganda friendly. It is, at this stage, Bafana's only international game before the qualifiers.

The under-23 side, however, are set to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, with Tau named as one of the overage players in the preliminary squad of 40.