However, things have not turned out to be as fruitful as was hoped, leading Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi to plead for patience as Brockie acclimatises to life at Chloorkop. The New Zealand international has been involved in seven games since making his highly anticipated move to Sundowns, but he is yet to break his duck, and after yet another disappointing performance against minnows EC Bees in the Nedbank Cup Last 16, questions are beginning to arise whether or not he is really the answer to Sundowns’ prayers.
Prior to Brockie joining Masandawana, the Kiwi forward had enjoyed an impressive spell at Sundowns’ cross-town rivals where he netted 54 goals in 119 appearances, and included him being named top scorer in SuperSport’s run all the way to the final of the Caf Confederation Cup. But despite scoring 10 goals in the tournament, his last goal came in October of 2017.
But while many have found it easy to criticise Brockie for his recent struggles, there are several factors which explain why, none more so than the Brazilians’ style of play. Most notably, at SuperSport Brockie was exposed to a more direct game plan where he was seen as the focal point and this has taken some adjusting as Brockie has now been forced to become more mobile and more involved in the game without necessarily having the ball at his feet.
Thus, Brockie’s struggles are understandable and added to that is the immense pressure he is under. While at SuperSport there may have been pressure, Brockie’s contribution was never under constant scrutiny the way it is now at the former African Champions. This is to be expected especially when you are regarded as one of the marquee signings of the January transfer window.
But what is also important to note is that Brockie is a confidence player. Like many strikers across the globe goals are what counts and with every day that passes that Brockie does not find the back of the net, his confidence takes a further knock. The danger of it all is that if the slump continues it can have severe ramifications considering that the fans might begin to get on his back. But the fortunate part about being at a club such as Sundowns who have an abundance of talent at their disposal is the fact that that the goal scoring responsibilities are equally distributed which shields the player in times of despair.
Eventually though, Brockie will almost certainly need to step up to the plate. Brockie was brought in as a player who could change the complexion of the game and would bring with him that killer instinct that has been missing in Sundowns’ performances over the past few seasons.
That is the Brockie that Mosimane gloated about capturing, and from his recent performances there has been glimpses which suggest that once his gets the monkey off his back, the floodgates are likely to open. But the question remains is he the player that Sundowns need right now?
The simple answer is yes, and a big yes at that! While currently Percy Tau has been in red-hot form, Sundowns have displayed time and time again this season their wastefulness in front of goal. This means that should Tau suffer the same fate as Brockie, this could make Brockie’s contribution even more important.
Nonetheless, it is imperative that the former Wellington Phoenix striker comes to the party as his killer instinct is what Sundowns need. It is important that Brockie returns to basics and stops trying too hard to impress. While Brockie is known for his flamboyant finishes from time to time, what makes him so special is the fact that he effectively does the simple things right. That is what sets him apart from the many strikers in South Africa and continues to make him amongst the best in the business.
As the saying goes 'form is temporary but class is eternal' and in the case of Brockie he needs to prove that this is true as he rides the wave of criticism and pressure, after all, Mosimane did not give him the name ‘Sniper’ for no reason.