Just over a year into his stay in South Africa, and New Zealand international Jeremy Brockie has proven himself to be a top quality striker as well as a very popular addition to the PSL.
Brockie was signed by former SuperSport United coach Gordon Igesund, who had seen the player in action for the New Zealand international team while Igesund was still in charge of the Bafana Bafana side.
He has since gone on to light up the PSL with some wonderful goals, while making many new friends on and off the field. After a slow start to the 2015/ 2016 season, Brockie has been finding momentum recently, and now has 10 league goals for the campaign, three less than leading Absa Premiership marksman Collins Mbesuma of Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Brockie also has three goals in cup competitions this season, while he netted eight goals from only 13 league matches last season after joining the Tshwane side in the January 2015 transfer window.
The PSL put the following questions to the 28-year-old Matsatsantsa marksman:
PSL: What have your impressions been of South Africa, and South African football, so far:
Jeremy Brockie: It’s been fantastic. I absolutely love the vibe in the SuperSport change-room, the guys there really helped me settle in quickly and to understand the culture and the style of their play, so that helped me to make a successful start. I have come down here with my wife and two kids, and we are loving the country – everyone has been so friendly and made us feel very welcome.
PSL: You have scored some pretty spectacular goals to date – do you have a personal favourite?
Jeremy Brockie: I think it’s hard to look past the volley I scored against Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup against Orlando Pirates. The goal helped us get through to the next round, and came against one of the biggest clubs in the country in front of a full stadium.
PSL:We have heard that you spend a lot of time after training honing your striking skills…
Jeremy Brockie: I think that as an attacking player, it’s important to train extra, to put yourself in ‘game scenarios’ as much as you can. It’s important to work on one’s technique, for example to make sure you can strike the ball with either foot. Even 10 or 15 minutes after each session can help, personally I love being out there, I’m usually out until coach Stuart Baxter calls me off.
PSL: There must be huge pressures on strikers, whose task it is to win games, while faced with an entire defence trying to prevent that. How much does confidence come into play in your job when the ball is not ending in the back of the net?
Jeremy Brockie: I have been around for a while, and all strikers go through tough spells at times. But those tough spells can make you stronger and you learn from them. You have to learn not to let missed opportunities affect you for the rest of the game, you have to be ready for the next opportunity to put the ball in the net, and to keep putting yourself in those positions, to stay positive in your mind.
PSL: Who was your idol while you were a youngster growing up in New Zealand?
Jeremy Brockie: I used to look up to David Beckham, as I also used to play as a midfielder in my earlier days. He was a positive role model on and off the field, and I used to have his posters all over my walls!
PSL:And these days, who do you look to for inspiration?
Jeremy Brockie: Apart from the obvious ones like Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, I really like watching Louis Suarez. He is an unbelievable finisher, he has great technique, and what some people don’t realise about him, is his immense work-rate, and he gets rewarded for that. Karim Benzema is another one I admire.
PSL: Would it be fair to say that SuperSport have underachieved this season?
Jeremy Brockie: Before the season started, you looked around the change-room and saw a lot of talent. Experienced players, exciting SuperSport youth products. There was a feeling that we could challenge for silverware, and for the PSL title. So it was a frustrating and disappointing time when results did not come. Stuart Baxter has managed to re-energise the boys, but its taking time. We still haven’t put in an entire 90 minute display of what we are capable of and what he wants from us. But there are encouraging signs.
Personally I started slowly and lost a bit of confidence, but I think the whole team was low on confidence which didn’t help. But since Stuart Baxter has moved me to Number 10, where I can find some more space, I have started to score more goals again. I hope to continue, and to help us challenge for a top eight place.
PSL: A regular flow of goals over the last couple of months now sees you closing in on leading PSL scorer, Collins Mbesuma of Black Aces. Is it one of your ambitions to win the Golden Boot award?
Jeremy Brockie: I won’t lie, at the start of the season it was one of my goals to be one of the players challenging for that honour. That should be every strikers ambition. But I must admit that at one stage, it seemed as if Collins was pulling away from the rest of us. That led me to take my focus off the award, but now that the goals are coming again, I am eyeing that possibility – with seven games left, its certainly achievable.
PSL: You still have quite a few years ahead of you as a player, yet you have also begun to take small steps for when your career as a professional footballer ends. Can you tell us about this please?
Jeremy Brockie: I have been involved with a club from my home town of Nelson, called Tasman United, an amateur side that recently began playing in the national New Zealand football league. I have been working as an advisor for them and it’s something I have enjoyed. I would also like to get more involved in the communities in South Africa, to work with the kids. I hang around the SuperSport academy quite a bit to try and pass on some of my experience to the youngsters.