Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates winning man of the match during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Lucas Moripe Stadium on October 27 2019. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IMAGES
Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates winning man of the match during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Lucas Moripe Stadium on October 27 2019. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IMAGES

Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurković has provided insight into his daily training routine while observing the holy month of Ramadan as a Muslim. 

Nurković and defender Yagan Sasman follow the Islamic faith and the Serbian said May brings a different set of challenges for him as he has to manage training and diet.

“I am constantly in contact with the coach‚ trainers and the club doctors. They have guided me on how to approach training as well as what my diet needs will be‚” said Nurković‚ who has scored 12 goals and carried out three assists in 24 matches in all competitions this season.

“I normally have breakfast at around 4am and begin the fast just after 5am. Until Monday we had a 10am video training session‚ but with the change in regulations‚ I jog around at 7.30am for half an hour‚ train and then get some rest.

“Here the fast finishes fairly early‚ so just after 5pm or so I have dinner and relax for a while. Because of all this‚ the training does not take a real toll on me as it is also not hot and the days are not too long.”

Nurković added that he is receiving support from Chiefs’ technical team and his teammates.

“My faith is important to my success and I always had an eye on Ramadan. I was planning as to how I would approach it had we been in our usual system. I would have given my all to my training regime. Generally‚ my coaches and teammates always help in these situations and are mindful and always manage me in a good way.”

Chiefs team doctor Mohammed Moosajee‚ who has worked with players such as Hashim Amla at the Proteas‚ said sticking to a training regime and diet is important for someone who is fasting at Ramadan.

“Generally‚ our training is low intensity in the morning and prior to them breaking the fast. They train again at higher intensity and burn a lot of calories. So‚ when they do break their fast‚ they need to take in the fuel so as to replenish whatever they have lost to cover up for the fast and exercise‚” said Moosajee.

“If we look at our two [Muslim] players‚ we have had to individualise our plans for them.

“Yagan is used to current fasting in the SA conditions‚ while Samir comes from a different environment where the food is different and also the weather conditions differ. The plan for each player is tailored for them.”

Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp said of the issue of his players training in Ramadan: “We discussed the approach we should take as the technical team. So‚ Samir and Yagan have been managing well.”