Unselfish Samir Nurković eyeing a first league title with Kaizer Chiefs
Serbian striker says his goalscoring ratio is not as important as his team winning the title
Samir Nurković says he is not concerned over his goal ratio slowing down in the second half of the 2019/2020 season‚ as long as Kaizer Chiefs can go on to win the Premiership.
Nurkovic’s goals‚ scored as the forceful‚ physical striker from the Slovakian second division set the Premiership alight at the start of the season‚ played a big part in Chiefs unexpectedly surging into a commanding lead by December.
However‚ goals seemed harder to come by for Nurkovic in 2020‚ as did the wins for Amakhosi — or vice versa.
Chiefs‚ who once enjoyed a 13-point gap in 2019‚ had just a four-point lead over second-placed defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns‚ who had a game in hand‚ when the Premier Soccer League (PSL) suspended matches due to coronavirus on March 16.
“My goalscoring ratio is not as important as the title at the end of the season. It is not about myself but about the team as a whole‚” Nurkovic said‚ suggesting that his lack of goals was more down to unselfishness in the penalty area.
“If I see that a teammate is in a better position then I will pass the ball to them and not be selfish. The ultimate goal is to achieve three points at the end.”
Nurkovic raced to eight league goals in 13 matches by December‚ including a stirring hat-trick in a 5-3 victory against Bloemfontein Celtic at Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 7. That result came at the zenith of Amakhosi’s winning form in the league‚ as it marked eight wins in a row.
The Serbian striker scored three goals since then‚ as Chiefs’ momentum also became more staggered.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in SA brought football to a halt‚ the national lockdown leaving Chiefs‚ in their 50th anniversary season‚ facing a situation never before encountered by a title-chasing team.
“Yes‚ it will be my first league title‚” Nurkovic‚ who has spent his career playing for a variety of Slovakian teams‚ confirmed.
“The lockdown is for safety‚ and our health is the priority. Right now we [Chiefs] have to stay mentally strong so that when the league resumes we come back stronger and do our best in the last eight games.”
Various options are being explored by the PSL‚ SA Football Association and the government — and international safety models are being closely watched — for a safe return to football.