Bradley Grobler has returned to action after an operation on a groin injury. The striker is eager to help Supersport United win the Nedbank Cup and make the Confederation Cup knockout stage. Picture: BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG – His SuperSport United teammates might be eager to ride off into the sunset with the 2016/17 season concluding this weekend, but striker Bradley Grobler feels like his campaign is only just beginning.

And the timing of the club’s participation in the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup couldn’t have been better for Grobler, who has battled with a groin injury that derailed what had the potential to be an incredible season as it kept him out for six months. 

When he was told he would have to have surgery in December, the 29-year-old says he knew he would be in for the toughest period of his football career.

“It has been a recurring injury,” says Grobler, who returned to action last Wednesday in an Absa Premiership match against Chippa United – coming off the bench in the 75th minute in a 3-0 defeat for SuperSport. 

He was again an early second half substitute when Matsatsantsa met Chippa three days later in the Nedbank Cup semi-final and edged it 4-2 on penalties this time around.

“My match fitness is obviously not quite there yet because our schedule doesn’t allow us to get friendly games in to work on that, but I am so happy that I have now played over 80 minutes. It really has been a frustrating time for me,” Grobler explains.

Things were looking up before the double whammy – getting injured and missing the Telkom Knockout final on December 10, where SuperSport lost 2-1 to Cape Town City. Grobler had also been involved in Bafana Bafana’s 2-1 victory over Senegal a month earlier in a qualifier for next year’s World Cup.

“I felt like I was set for one of the best seasons in my career, being back in the national team and having had a good start with the team. It was terrible for me to watch from the stands when I knew I could have contributed to help the team fight for the league title (SuperSport will finish in fourth place if they win their final league game against Platinum Stars on Saturday). 

"You always want to be involved, but I was helpless. I think as a team we have learnt our lessons and we can just look forward to next season. And to be honest, I think we deserved a lot more than we got, but that is football,” says Grobler.

The Nedbank Cup might be more of a priority than the Confederation Cup, but seeing that the striker missed the bulk of the season, he will be out to prove just why he’s such an asset when fully fit. Matsatsantsa face Gabon’s CF Mounana in their second group stage fixture on Tuesday night (11pm SA time) in Franceville and Grobler could lead the line. Their opening match at home against Horoya from Guinea ended in a goalless draw.

“The fact that we are still in a CAF competition is great for me,” he says. “It means all the hard work in trying to get back hasn’t been for nothing. It has worked out for me because there are still a few games to play and the Nedbank Cup final later (against Orlando Pirates on June 24).”


The Star

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