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How Kaizer Chiefs lured Nurkovic using Middendorp's European networks

20:52 GMT+4 06/11/2019
Samir Nurkovic Kaizer Chiefs October 27
The striker has already scored four goals for the Glamour Boys this season, and his coach has showered him with praise

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp has revealed how he came across Samir Nurkovic, who arrived in the PSL as an unknown striker from the lower divisions of Europe. 

Nurkovic has taken South African football by storm after being recruited by Amakhosi, and Middendorp he had talks with the marksman in May after using his European networks to monitor his progress in Slovakia. 

The 27-year-old scored 39 goals in 48 games in his last two seasons in Slovakia, and that record helped him secure a move to the Glamour Boys.  

Middendorp said he felt both Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat were isolated last season, and he needed someone mobile to keep opposition defenders busy and free the former Mamelodi Sundowns duo. 

"I had a lot of chats [with Nurkovic] in May already using my networks and getting information," Middendorp told reporters.

"I felt that Castro and Billiat were a little isolated last season but Nurkovic has given them the space to play because he needs a lot of attention inside the box."

The German-born tactician said the club had to look at Nurkovic's style of play and decided whether or not he would fit in at Chiefs. 

But he admitted he couldn't have unearthed Nurkovic without the help of his colleagues in Europe, and he's pleased with how the speedy forward has adapted to life in South Africa.

"We had to check his style of play and compare it to what we had‚ and what we were looking for. I was helped by my network‚ which is something that I’ve established over the years in Europe," Middendorp added.

"If I need information about a player in Poland‚ New Zealand or Slovakia in the second league where Nurkovic is coming from‚ I’m quite certain to get what I need.

"That’s how I managed to find Nurkovic and I’m not surprised by the way he’s adapted to playing in SA."