JOHANNESBURG - The heartbreak Jeremy Brockie suffered last week after travelling around the world to reach a personal milestone is the fuel that will drive him in the second leg of the Caf Confederation Cup final.
The SuperSport United forward made his 50th appearance for New Zealand last week in Lima against Peru in the second leg of the World Cup qualifying play-offs, but the All Whites failed to qualify.
Brockie had to quickly put that aside before travelling through seven times zone in a week to reach Lubumbashi on Friday to take on TP Mazembe in the first leg of the final.
“I was probably lucky that the game against TP Mazembe came so soon after our failure to qualify for the World Cup,” Brockie said.
“It didn’t give me time to reflect and think about it too much. It’s obviously disappointing that the World Cup dream is gone. It’s every kid’s dream to play in the World Cup. I have been lucky enough to play in one but being this close to going to a second and losing at the final hurdle hurt.”
Matsatsantsa a Pitori will look to avoid that feeling in their first appearance in the final of a continental competition. The Tshwane side are in a good position after losing the first leg to the Ravens 2-1. They have to reverse that scoreline at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night to make their trips all over the continent worth it.
Brockie knows that almost doesn’t count, which is why he's looking to make sure they don’t slip at the last hurdle.
“When I first came to South Africa, I wanted to play in such competitions to test myself against the best to see where I am at,” Brockie said. “At the moment I am the top goalscorer in the competition and we find ourselves in the final.
"I have been lucky enough to be nominated in the top 30 of the players based in Africa (for Caf’s Footballer of the Year award). It’s a special feeling. I don’t want it to stop here. It’s a nice rollercoaster that I'm on at the moment.
"It would be brilliantly topped of if we could lift this trophy on Saturday. These are the sort of competitions and trophies that you remember as a player long after you have retired. Nobody remembers the team that lost in the final.
"I'll give it my all and hopefully help the team be successful. I am not happy with just the 10 goals I have scored. I want to score two more this weekend and finish on 12. Hopefully those goals are enough for us to win the trophy.”
It’s been a crazy year for Brockie. He helped SuperSport retain the Nedbank Cup in May and handed in a transfer request in August with Mamelodi Sundowns after him. Matsatsantsa turned it down.
He took that decision on the chin and scored in a second successive final as SuperSport clinched the MTN8 last month.
Even though he won’t be going to Russia next year, he can take Matsatsantsa to Morocco for the Caf Super Cup against Caf Champions League winners Wydad Casablanca.
There’s been a silver lining to every disappointment Brockie has endured this year.