Samir Nurković has been at the heart of Chiefs’ revival in recent times with the Amakhosi striker having returned earlier in January from a lengthy lay-off. He has been his combative self, helping Chiefs to battle their way to four wins, two draws and just one loss in the seven games he has featured in since his return season. Added to that, he has been tasked with skippering the team in the absence of Ramahlwe Mphahlele. With a big derby looming this Saturday against Orlando Pirates, the Serbian born striker is looking ahead towards continuing to help Chiefs make positive strides ahead.
Nurković faced Pirates three times in the 2019-20 campaign but missed Chiefs earlier meetings in the MTN8 this season through injury.
He says that he is pleased to play in a game of this magnitude and really looking with relish towards facing Pirates. “Playing in big derbies like the Soweto derby is every player’s dream. I have had the privilege to play three derbies last season and I am happy to be part of this derby again,” says Nurković.
Chiefs’ leading scorer from last season Nurković has shared the learning about and researching Chiefs rivalry with the near neighbours Pirates was amongst the factors that enticed him to join Chiefs. “Before I arrived in South Africa and came to Chiefs, I learnt about the Soweto derby,” he enthuses. ”The fact that the players have the opportunity to play in front of 90 000 supporters made me really look forward to being part of such an occasion.”
The Chiefs attacker who has contributed with one goal and two assists in the five league games he has started this season. He says derby has been everything he could have imagined and even though there will not be fans at the game, he believes they will be backing the team wherever they will be.
“My experience in the derby has been unbelievable thus far,” he comments. “Playing in front of 90 000 spectators is a dream come true for every player. It has exceeded all my expectations. It is unfortunate that this derby will have no supporters at the same stadium, but I am sure they will be supporting us from home, playing without supporters is very different. They are always the 12th man and give us extra motivation. We really miss them at the stadium.”
While there will be no fans at the stadium Nurković, and his teammates ultimate aim is to hand the bragging rights to Chiefs fans, and they will not let up in the quest to extend their recent unbeaten run-in league games from five to six matches.
“It is full focus for Chiefs as we get ready for the clash with Pirates,“ he explains. A big team like Kaizer Chiefs must only be interested in victories, that’s why we are going into this game just like every other game with full focus.”
The current stand in Chiefs captain has also praised Amakhosi fans for adhering to current government Covid-19 protocols and is asking them to continue being the model citizens that they have been.
“As much as we prefer to have our beloved fans at the stadium, they have to prioritise their and their families’ health by adhering to the government regulations. We urge them to stay at home and continue to support us from there. Thank you to all of them for doing so and hopefully we will have them in the stands soon.”
Nurković is yet to score against Pirates and will be hoping to open his account this Saturday in what will be his third league game against them.
The Glamour Boys have had three Serbian born coaches lead them in the derby in the past in the form of Paul Dolezar, Kosta Papic and Vladimir Vermezović. Should Nurković get the opportunity to captain Chiefs like he has done in the past two league games, he will be the first Serbian born player to lead Chiefs in a Soweto Derby against Pirates.