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Percy Tau follows a mixed bag of South Africans heading straight to England

Percy Tau's move from Mamelodi Sundowns to English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion had provided something of a rarity - it is just the fifth time that a player has moved directly from South Africa to the English top-flight since the country's readmission to international football in 1992.

It is fair to say that the other four occasions have been met with very mixed success, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and Tau now has a chance to blaze a trail for those who would come after him by proving that the talent in South Africa's Premier Soccer League is worth a look for top clubs.

Tau will be loaned out this season, largely due to work permit issues, but also to help him acclimitise to Europe, something that has been a major factor in the failure of others that have gone before him.

KweséESPN looks back at how other players have fared after taking what is a giant leap.    

LUCAS RADEBE
Position: Defender
Transfer: Kaizer Chiefs to Leeds United, 1994
Appearances/goals: 256/3

Radebe vies with Benni McCarthy and Steven Pienaar as South Africa's greatest ever exports to Europe and he was certainly the most successful of the players who moved directly from the domestic competition to the Premier League.

He arrived at Leeds from Kaizer Chiefs in 1994 along with striker Phil Masinga and initially found the going tough, making just 28 appearances in his first two seasons.

But after a switch in coaches and the arrival of George Graham, Radebe's fortunes changed and he became a first-team regular and something of a cult figure among the Elland Road faithful.

He was named captain of the side for the 1998/99 season and led the team through a period of relative success, finishing third in the Premier League and reaching the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.

But injuries began to take their toll and he did not feature at all in the 2001/02 season, as a financial implosion at Leeds saw the club relegated to the Championship for the 2004/05 campaign, which proved to be his last with the team.

He never did score a Premier League goal in 201 appearances for Leeds, but managed one in the FA Cup and two in European club competition.

Verdict: Hit

PHIL MASINGA
Position: Striker
Transfer: Mamelodi Sundowns to Leeds United, 1994
Appearances/goals: 39/11

Masinga was seen as the prized capture in the double-deal with Radebe that saw Leeds raid the South African league to bring the duo in for £275,000.

Radebe was viewed as a squad player at best, but brought along to help striker Masinga settle at Elland Road. Fortunes would be very much reversed.

Eleven goals in 39 appearances was not a disastrous return for Masinga, but his tenure with the club is generally seen as a disappointment.

He was fighting for a starting place with two established forwards in Tony Yeboah and Brian Deane, while a young Noel Whelan was also emerging at the club and would go on to have a fine career.

Masinga spent two seasons at Leeds and was always in and out of the side, but was eventually sold to St Gallen in Switzerland for £500,000 in 1996, so turned a good profit for Leeds.

There were some highlights - a brace against Arsenal at Highbury and a hat-trick in an FA Cup win over Walsall, but they were too few and far between.

Verdict: Miss    

MBULELO MABIZELA
Position:
Defender
Transfer: Orlando Pirates to Tottenham Hotspur, 2003
Appearances/goals: 9/1

Mabizela was arguably the hottest property in South African football when he signed for Tottenham Hotspur from Orlando Pirates ahead of the 2003/04 season.

The £2-million move was seen as richly deserved for a player who was expected to become among the greatest ever for the country and the likely man to lead the national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

But while Mabizela was undoubtedly very talented and a class act, his off-field problems would turn his stay in North London into a nightmare and tarnish the image of South African football in the eyes of many.

Mabizela burst onto the scene in England with a stunning goal on debut against Leicester City, but it would be one of only seven appearances in his maiden season, none of them starts.

His inability to lead a professional life off the field led to numerous warnings from the club and it became clear early on that they had made an error in judgement - not with regards his ability, but rather his character.

He did start two games in his second season within days of each other, a 6-0 victory over Oldham Athletic in the League Cup and a 1-0 Premier League loss to Manchester United.

They would be his final appearances for the team as he was shipped off to Norwegian side Vålerenga shortly afterwards, where he also enjoyed little success.

Mabizela's career never quite recovered, he returned to South Africa in 2006 and played for another decade, but was never the same talented individual who at one stage appeared to have the world at his feet.   

Verdict: Miss   

KAGISHO DIKGACOI
Position:
Midfielder
Transfer: Lamontville Golden Arrows to Fulham, 2009
Appearances/goals: 43/0

Dikgacoi played for both Fulham and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, and also had a lengthy stay in the Championship with Palace and Cardiff City.

He was something of a surprise signing by Fulham ahead of the 2009/10 season, though by then he was a regular with the South African national team that would feature at the World Cup the following year.

Things got off to a poor start when he was sent off on debut for slapping West Ham United midfielder Scott Parker, and he made 15 appearances in his first season.

But he failed to make an impact in his second campaign and after just a single showing, left for Championship side Palace on loan.

That was turned into a permanent move and he was something of a revelation at Selhurst Park in the next two seasons, helping the Eagles to promotion.

He featured heavily in their 2013/14 Premier League campaign, even after another red card, this time at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

Dikgacoi then made what was seen as a controversial decision at the time, turning down a one-year contract extension at Palace to drop a division to the Championship for a three-year deal with Cardiff City.

Injuries meant he made just 28 appearances in two seasons in Wales before being released early from his contract.

He returned to Golden Arrows in 2016 but battled with weight issues and was by then winding down his playing career.      Verdict: Miss

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