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Football: Want-away Kiwi told to help win CAF Cup first

Japan’s Yuya Osako, front right, scores a goal in the last half during a friendly soccer match against New Zealand in Toyota, central Japan Friday, Oct. 6, 2017. (Naoya Osato/Kyodo News via AP)
JOHANNESBURG: Want-away New Zealander Jeremy Brockie has been told he could leave SuperSport United if he helps the South African club win the CAF Confederation Cup.
The 29-year-old former international striker from rugby hotbed Christchurch had a mid-year transfer request rejected with another Pretoria club, Mamelodi Sundowns, keen to sign him.
But a top SuperSport official said this week that the Kiwi could be freed to join recently deposed African champions Sundowns during the January transfer window.
“If we have won the CAF Confederation Cup by then, we will be open to offers for Jeremy,” said chief executive Stanley Matthews.
Brockie tops the Confederation Cup goal charts with nine, including a hat-trick against Barrack Young Controllers of Liberia in Pretoria.
But his recent international and domestic form has been poor with coach Eric Tinkler regularly taking him off during the second half of matches.
Brockie insists media speculation about a possible switch to Sundowns is not affecting his form, telling reporters that “when I run on the pitch my sole concern is scoring goals.”
Winning the secondary African competition presents a huge challenge for Brockie and SuperSport, though, after being held 1-1 at home by Club Africain of Tunisia in a semifinal first leg.
It could have been even worse for SuperSport as they equalized with only three minutes left when Thabo Mnyamane tapped in the rebound after his weak penalty was saved.
Mnyamane suffered a groin injury when SuperSport won the first domestic knockout final of the season last weekend and misses the return match in Rades Sunday.
Club Africain, who were 2011 Confederation Cup runners-up to MAS Fes of Morocco, snatched a potentially precious away goal through a Saber Khalifa penalty.
The Tunisians began their quest for a second CAF title after the 1991 African Cup of Champions Clubs (now CAF Champions League) by trouncing RSLAF of Sierra Leone 9-1 in Tunis.
They also won five subsequent home matches in Africa and, given that a goalless draw will suffice for overall victory, are expected to eliminate SuperSport.
Title-holders TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo take a 1-0 lead over 2010 Confederation Cup winners FUS Rabat to Morocco in the other semifinal.
Congolese striker Ben Malango, one of the finds of the competition this season, scored his sixth goal to give the “Ravens” a narrow advantage ahead of the second leg late Saturday.
Mazembe can expect to spend much more time defending in Rabat than they did at home and the absence of injured Mali center-back Salif Coulibaly is a serious blow.
While the Congolese are the only unbeaten team having won seven matches and drawn four, FUS boast a perfect five-victory home record this season.

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