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EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Brockie's South Africa safari paying dividends with SuperSport United

Apart from a brief foray into Major League Soccer, Jeremy Brockie had spent his entire career in New Zealand and Australia.

So when the opportunity came up to move his young family from Wellington to South Africa, the 27-year old forward jumped at the chance.

Brockie departed A-League club Wellington Phoenix for Pretoria's SuperSport United in January, joining the Matsatsantsa on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Life in South Africa's Premiership has begun brightly for Brockie who has netted six goals in ten appearances for former South Africa national team manager Gordon Igesund's side and he admits he is delighted with the way things have panned out for himself, wife Jessica, daughter Piper and son Oskar.

"I was obviously off contract with the Phoenix this season and I was after a new challenge and change of scenery," Brockie told tribalfootball.com.

"I had a meeting with (Phoenix coach) Ernie (Merrick) before the season started and let him know my thinking and he understood my reasoning and we agreed if an opportunity came up that I wanted to explore, he wouldn't stand in my way."

Brockie was aware the shift to South Africa would raise eyebrows but he was confident it would beneficial for his career, his lifestyle and his family.

"I guess a lot of people were probably surprised when I signed in South Africa but for me there were a few key factors," the 45-time New Zealand international added.

"One, its an English-speaking country and this not only makes it easy for me to settle but also for my family to meet people and socialise.

"Secondly, I still have ambitions of making the 2018 World Cup in Russia and to have security of a contract leading up to then helps a lot. Football is massive over here in South Africa and I'm loving it.

"The coach of SuperSport, Igesund, was the coach of Bafana Bafana (SA national team) when we (the All Whites) played them last February and I caught his eye, so when he got the SuperSport job the ball started rolling."

Brockie has had a bit to learn about the history of his new club as well as getting to know brand new teammates but admits it has been easy to adjust.

"The club is one of the better and well run clubs here in SA, we have a couple of national team players in the side and other players with previous caps for Bafana," he added.

"We have a talented player, Dove Wome, who plays for Togo also.

"SuperSport enjoyed their best spell in seasons 2007 through to 2010 when they won the league three years in a row."

Of Igesund, who has a long history of success in his homeland, Brockie said: "Our current coach is the most successful in SA football history winning five league titles with five different clubs.

"I'm hoping to win it while I'm here. There are also three cup competitions throughout the season and SuperSport already won one of them late last year and we are in the semis of the current one."

Regarding his adjustment to life in Pretoria and at SuperSport, the former North Queensland Fury, Newcastle Jets and Toronto FC man said further: "The boys have been brilliant, it's always a bit nerve-racking heading into a new changing room because you don't know how long it will take to settle and be accepted but from day one I've felt right at home which I guess is why I've had such a great start here.

"The first few weeks were tough on the family as living out of a hotel with two kids is not ideal but now we have our own place and cars now and it's much more like home. We have met some lovely people off the pitch also with plenty of kids which makes life so much easier."

As is the norm, performing so well early at a new club often gets the media juices flowing - especially in South Africa - and Brockie says it has been no different since his arrival.

"There has been quite a lot of interest in the start of I've had to my career here, as it normally takes foreign players a while to get settled," he said.

"I've managed to score four league goals and two cup goals so far and hopefully I can continue as we move closer to the cup final and trying to secure a top 8 finish as the top 8 sides play in a cup at the start of next season."

In regards to his old club the Phoenix, Brockie was thrilled to see them on the verge of securing a spot in the A-League finals while still being in with a strong chance of claiming a first title.

"I keep in touch with the Phoenix boys all the time obviously and it's no surprise that they are fighting for the top of the league because Ernie built a fantastic squad this year," he added.

"I watch with a lot of interest and I don't think many teams would want to be playing the Phoenix in the finals."

The South African journey, or safari if you like, has only just started for Brockie and his family but there is plenty to look forward to if the first couple of months are anything to go by.

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