THE BREAKDOWN: Why Brockie Was Right To Stay At SSU
Was Jeremy Brockie Right To Reconcile With SuperSport?
Now that the transfer window has closed, Jeremy Brockie is still a SuperSport United player and will not be wearing the colours of Mamelodi Sundowns. We take a look at whether it will be good or bad for his career path.
Click through the images above to see Jeremy Brockie’s detailed statistics for the 2016/17 Absa Premiership season.
In Soccer Laduma issue number 1039 the Siya crew revealed that Brockie has reconciled with his employers after handing in a transfer request days before the transfer window and it now appears that he will be focussing his efforts on scoring the nine goals that he needs to reach the club record of 58 goals in all competitions, surpassing the late Abram Raselemane’s tally.
The question is therefore whether he’d be better off at Sundowns or if he made a wise decision to remain with their Tshwane rivals. After joining the club in January 2015, Brockie has amassed 70 league appearances for the club, scoring 26 times and assisting a further nine goals. As a result, he has established himself as one of the finest players in his position in South Africa’s top flight, which warranted the African champions’ interest in him.
In terms of statistics, Brockie’s strengths as a striker become remarkably apparent. The New Zealander won 2.34 aerial duels per 90 minutes last season with a success rate of 53.8% and took 2.77 touches in the penalty area per 90 minutes. He also squeezed off 2.63 shots per 90 minutes, with a shot accuracy of 40% and a conversion rate of 14.5%. The 29-year-old fits into the mould of a traditional striker that occupies space in the box, contests for the ball and puts the finishing touches on the chances that his teammates create for him, i.e. a typical “number 9.”
Brockie’s style of play fitted into SuperSport’s team structure, as a whole, as they took the most shots in the danger zone (the space directly in front of the goal) out of all the 16 PSL clubs last season, with 42.4% of their total shots coming from that part of the pitch. SuperSport also only kept 49% of the possession on average last season, making just 389.5 passes per game, which is well below the league average of 426.9 per game.
They also had the highest rate of success in terms of aerial duels (57.9%). Under Stuart Baxter, the team played transitional, counter-attacking football, with lots of balls being played into the box and spending relatively little time on the ground. As a result, the club’s tactical approach suited Brockie’s game almost perfectly.
However, Brockie is not the finest passer of the ball, making just 23.3 passes per 90 minutes last season at an accuracy of 57.6%. He also completed just 0.43 dribbles per 90 and assisted just 1.2 shots per 90. This provides the necessary evidence to show that Brockie is not suited to a style of play that emphasises slow build-ups, frequent passing and incisive movements in the final third, where the ball is mostly kept on the ground.
At Sundowns, there are far fewer shots taken in the danger zone per game (4.9), making up just 36.7% of their total shots. They kept an average of 58.2% possession, the best in the league and made the second most passes per game (557.1) at an accuracy of 84%. They were not the best team in the air though, winning just 51.8% of their aerial duels. They are a team that emphasises possession, playing the ball on the ground and building up patiently to create goalscoring opportunities.
In Brockie’s case, it would not be surprising to see him adapt to Sundowns’ style of play or for Pitso Mosimane to tweak his system to accommodate his would-be marquee signing. However, for Brockie himself, it would be an unnecessary risk to join a team which he wouldn’t be a good fit for. He has earned a reputation as one of the country’s finest strikers, finishing as the fifth highest goalscorer last season.
However, the key to his performances was the style of play of the team that he played for, which complements his individual qualities. To join a club where that’s not the case could work against him. He has already won two Nedbank Cups with Matsatsantsa and now has a chance to write his name into their history books. For now, though, it appears that he will remain to be a key figure for Eric Tinkler and football fans around the country will be eagerly anticipating his return to the pitch against Maritzburg United today.
Do you think that Brockie made the right decision to stay at SuperSport United?