Samir Nurkovic’s return gives Chiefs a huge boost
After four months out with a groin injury the Serbian seems to have inspired a change in fortunes
Ace Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic has admitted watching the team struggle to find the back of the net in the four months he was sidelined with a groin injury was difficult to stomach.
Chiefs had a horror start to this season under new coach Gavin Hunt, and Nurkovic’s absence served to sour things further for AmaKhosi as they continued to limp from one poor result to the next‚ with their impotency in front of goal glaringly amplified.
But the Serbian’s return seems to have inspired a change in fortunes for AmaKhosi. In his first start since recovering from the injury‚ Nurkovic scored the lone strike in Chiefs’ 1-0 win against AmaZulu. He then turned provider in his next match as he delivered an assist in Chiefs’ 2-1 win against Cape Town City a few days later to secure a second win in a row for the first time this season.
“It was a really difficult four months for me‚” he reflected on the frustrating period he spent watching from the sidelines. “Every day you can see supporters [in the streets]‚ and they were all wishing me a speedy recovery. But sometimes you need a little bit of time to get back on the field and you cannot rush something.
“But it is not the same playing without supporters. It is a big difference because they have always been our 12th player on the field‚ and it is harder without them. But the hard work that we are putting in is all for them‚ everything we are doing is for AmaKhosi.”
The eighth-placed Chiefs will put their newfound resurgence to the test when they host Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) at FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
“We really do not have a lot of time to think about the opponents‚” Nurkovic said. “We have to focus on ourselves and on our play. We have to continue with our good fighting spirit‚ on what we gave the supporters in our last two games‚ and we have to just keep momentum.”
The Serbian said he was grateful to be back. Hunt’s postmatch interviews sounded like a broken record as the goals dried up and countless points were dropped when the presence of a razor-sharp marksman could have turned defeat into draw‚ and draw into win.
“It felt fantastic to be back on the field after a long time‚ after surgery and four months of recovery‚ training sessions,” Nurkovic said.
“Like I said a million times‚ my job is to be upfront and score goals, and thank God I scored that goal [against AmaZulu] in the first game after a long time. The feeling was unbelievable and I am very happy I have made my contribution to the victory.”
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