JOHANNESBURG – Bradley Grobler whispered that this is his time, as if he was afraid if he said it out aloud he would jinx it.
The SuperSport United striker’s caution comes from the fact he had a similar belief last year after Stuart Baxter joined the club.
But a recurring groin injury limited his involvement with the Tshwane side and stalled his Bafana Bafana career until he had an operation earlier this year.
His quality and temperament weren’t diminished by that injury, though.
Grobler scored in the last two Nedbank Cup finals, which the club won, to show he has matured to a player who can hold his own in big occasions.
“To be honest, the feeling this is my time isn’t only coming now,” Grobler said.
“I felt like that when Stuart was our coach. I started enjoying my football again under him. Before he came my career was a bit up-and-down. I was in a very difficult place.
“It wasn’t just injuries that put me there. There were a whole lot of different things. It’s difficult when a coach doesn’t believe in you. You don’t play as much as you would like and your confidence hits a low.
“I am enjoying myself and I feel it’s my time. I need to step up.”
Grobler and his teammates will look to step up against giant-slayers Maritzburg United tonight in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-final at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
The “Team of Choice” eliminated Mamelodi Sundowns in the first round at the same venue. The return leg will be played at Harry Gwala Stadium next Saturday.
Grobler goes into this match on a high after earning a Bafana call-up on Monday and terrorising Kaizer Chiefs’ defence on Wednesday before scoring his first goal of the new season.
The 29-year-old son of former Moroka Swallows prolific striker Les Grobler is finally living up to his surname.
“It’s not a competition because we played in two totally different eras,” Bradley said.
“He tells me that he is proud of me. I am his product in more ways than one. He coached me from when I was four years old until I was 19.
“It got a bit tough at times because he wasn’t like a normal coach that I could answer back if I disagreed with him. But I must say that it was an unbelievable relationship. He helped me a lot. We would go home and still work on certain things and talk about football.
“A lot of people are not fortunate to have that. I am not saying it made me a good player or anything but it certainly put me in the right frame of mind.”
Grobler will go to the Bafana camp for the back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cape Verde after the two-legged semi-final.
He will reunite with the coach, Baxter, who awoke the beast that makes him a sure bet to lead the attack against the Blue Sharks next month.
“I am extremely excited about returning to Bafana Bafana,” Grobler said.
“Whenever I am called up I say that I want to stay there for the next camp and the camp after that. I have struggled with injuries which contributed in my absence.
"With the national team, you have to consistently prove yourself, which isn’t easy when you constantly have to deal with injuries.
“Now that the injuries are behind me, I want to cement my place in that squad. I can only do that by doing well and making the most of every chance that I get. I am sharp physically and mentally.”