South African winger Percy Tau has left top Belgian side Anderlecht for the glamour world of the English Premier League with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Also making a move is Zimbabwe international Tendayi Darikwa, who has joined Wigan Athletic from Nottingham Forest until the end of the current season.
Tau made 14 appearances for Anderlecht last season, finding the back of the net four times before putting on the colours of the Seagulls in the world’s richest soccer league.
The 26-year-old told his social media followers that, "I am blessed to be here – it has been a long journey and I am grateful for the opportunity in front of me.” He also said: "There has always been an excitement back home since I signed for Brighton. I have been out on loan and now they're now celebrating the fact that I am back and ready to play.
"We don't have many South Africans playing in the Premier League. We used to in the past, but at the moment we don't so it gives them pride to see me with Brighton."
With very few Southern African players plying their trade in the EPL, the Lion of Judah - as Tau is known back home – will be one of the region’s biggest attractions in the league. The former Mamelodi Sundowns man joins Zimbabwean midfielder Marvelous Nakamba as the only two EPL players from this part of the world.
In the lower rungs below the EPL, Darikwa made a switch from Nottingham Forest to Wigan Athletic in the League One.
The “Minister of Defence”, as he is called by his Zimbabwean fans, raved about the move on Twitter.
“From a young age I wanted to play for this football club, I’m thankful and grateful for the opportunity to do that. Not the way I imagined it ending but that’s life. Thank you to everyone for the love and support during my time here, especially through last season’s injury,” wrote Darikwa.
Wigan itself said, “We are pleased to confirm the signing of versatile wide player Tendayi Darikwa on a short-term contract until the end of the season, subject to EFL approval.”
In a statement, Nottingham Forest said: “The club would like to thank Tendayi for his efforts and wish him well for the future.”
Wigan boss Chris Hughton enthused: “We’ve always been very open with Tendayi.
“He’s a really good individual, a good trainer and a good player.”
Darikwa has not played since March 2019 after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament. The Zimbabwe international has scored 13 goals in 242 career club games. Prior to playing for Nottingham Forest, Darikwa helped Burnley win promotion to the Premier League, after joining from Chesterfield where he started out in England.
Darikwa made his debut for Zimbabwe in 2017 and has gone on to earn 13 caps for the Zimbabwe Warriors, including two appearances in November’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria which ended 2-2 at the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe.
Reporting by Joe Machingura in Cape Town & Michael Munyanyiwa in Windhoek