The rebirth of Bradley Grobler has been one of the brightest spectacles to witness in the 2019/20 season that’s still in its infancy.
The SuperSport United striker already has two pieces of silverware - the Absa Premier Player of the Month Award for August and the ring that went with the MTN8 trophy Matsatsantsa a Pitori won on Saturday at Orlando Stadium.
On Sunday he will look to add a third piece of silverware, the Nelson Mandela Challenge winner’s medal when Bafana Bafana take on Mali at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
This will be coach Molefi Ntseki’s first match in charge since taking over from Stuart Baxter.
Grobler’s talent has never been in doubt, but the son of legendary striker Les Grobler struggled with injuries that stunted his progress.
The question that’s on most football fans’ lips is what has he done differently this year to maintain his form, but more importantly his fitness?
“The last couple of years, with the injuries and that, the coaches have made me not train as hard as I should have, whereas this season that has changed,” Grobler said.
“We got a new fitness trainer at SuperSport and pre-season was hard. I worked extremely hard. There was no cutting corners, no taking days off and no missing half training. I finished every training session. I trained harder than I have in a long time. For me that has played a big part, I have felt extremely good on the field.
Grobler continued: “In the last couple of years, finishing 90 minutes hasn’t been possible whereas this season I have finished pretty much all the games I started which is a big thing for me. In the South African league, there are a lot of goals to be scored and games to be won in the last 15-20 minutes. I have always thought to myself, a top goalscorer can score the bulk of his goals in those minutes. I’ve worked very hard to be as fit as I can be and last as long as I can on the field.”
Grobler has a tough challenge in his fight for a starting berth at Bafana. Lebo Mothiba and Percy Tau have formed a deadly attacking duo that looked good in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and the actual tournament in Egypt.
There’s also Kermit Eramus who is also in a rich vein of form at Cape Town City.
“I would like to say that I am at my best, but I always want to improve.
“I always want to be better. For me it’s still a bit early in the season, there’s a long way for me to go. I am very happy with where I am at the moment, I try to keep working hard, looking after myself and staying fit.
"I am very happy to be back in the national team. It’s been a frustrating couple of years for me, going in and out due to injuries. I am just happy to be back here, and I am at a time in my career where I am looking after myself and I am making sure that I am available for every game.”