Bradley Grobler (C) of Supersport United during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport and Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, August 14 2019. Picture: DIRK KOTZE/GALLO IMAGES
Bradley Grobler (C) of Supersport United during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport and Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, August 14 2019. Picture: DIRK KOTZE/GALLO IMAGES

Bafana Bafana striker Bradley Grobler says a new fitness training team at SuperSport United put him in top shape in the preseason‚ which has been a factor in his sharpness and scoring form‚ and so far being injury-free.

Grobler, who scored the winner in SuperSport's 1-0 MTN8 Cup  final win over Highlands Park at the weekend, is in excellent form and could get to start when SA play Mali in the Mandela Challenge match in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

In the past he has seen promising starts to seasons come off the rails due to injuries.

This season has been his sharpest start yet‚ with five goals in six league games for SuperSport‚ and a further two in four (overall seven in 10) matches in the MTN8.

Grobler was asked what has changed in his training regime as he enters his senior years at 31. He credited the new SuperSport conditioning team of Kobus de Wet and Innocent Mchunu for a tough preseason‚ and resisting the temptation of going easy on the now-veteran.

“The last few years with the injuries the coaches have kind of not made me train as hard as I maybe should have‚” Grobler said. “This season we have got a new fitness trainer in at SuperSport and preseason was hard.

“I worked extremely hard. There was no cutting corners‚ no taking days off‚ no half-trainings. I think that’s played a big part. I’ve felt extremely good on the field.

“Over the last few years for me to finish 90 minutes has not been possible. This season I’ve finished all the games I’ve started.

“I think in the SA league there are a lot of goals and a lot of games to be won within the last 15 to 20 minutes of matches. So I’ve worked really hard to be as fit as I can be.

“It may not be THE reason I’ve started well. But I certainly think that’s helped me.”

De Wet has returned to SuperSport after a few years concentrating on his business‚ and Mchunu has been promoted from Matsatsantsa’s academy.

Grobler has played a deeper striker role‚ feeding off the scraps provided by rejuvenated “Ganda Ganda” (bulldozer) Thamsanqa Gabuza since the big centre-forward’s move to United from Orlando Pirates.

His finishing form — and Strasbourg striker Lebo Mothiba perhaps going off colour to some extent — makes Grobler a candidate as a potential late-bloomer to become a central figure for Bafana over the next year or two‚ if he can stay fit.

If he plays against Mali‚ Grobler is likely to switch back to a centre-forward role.

“It’s a position I have played for many years. As a footballer you’ve got to be prepared to change‚” he said.

Bafana meet Mali at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday (kickoff 3pm).