Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has revealed he told Brighton manager Chris Hughton that Percy Tau can handle the physicality of the English Premier League.
Tau was signed by the side for a fee said to be in the region of R50 million from Mamelodi Sundowns in July last year but was then loaned out to Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium's second tier.
The forward has had a solid season for Saint-Gilloise but has been in inspired form for Bafana scoring a number of crucial goals in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.
The 24-year-old will be a key attacker when the national team take part in the AFCON tournament in Egypt during June and July. Bafana are in Group D alongside Ivory Coast, Morocco and Namibia.
Tau has been rested in recent times by his club due to a niggling injury, though Baxter is hopeful he thrown into the firing line soon rather than later.
He told Soccer Laduma: "Big players win big games. You can't protect people by wrapping them up in cotton wool.
"The easy way is not a good teacher, and Percy has got to where he is by working hard and taking some knocks. When Chris Houghton (Brighton manager) called me and asked about Percy Tau, he asked if he works hard enough and if he is strong enough.
"And I said 'he played against (Senegal's) Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) and didn't get knocked around.
"I said if you look at the Burkina Faso centre backs they are almost two meters and are about 150 kilos, both of them.
"And yet Percy was in and out of them and they couldn't catch him. So rather than wrap him in cotton wool and say we don't want them to target him, well go on and target him."
Bafana's opening match in the tournament is against Ivory Coast on June 24 at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
Kick-off is at 16:30.