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CAF Champions League

Why Kaizer Chiefs striker Nurkovic's goals against Simba could be so important

12:43 SAST 2021/05/17
Joash Aching Onyango of Simba SC challenges Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs.
The result leaves Amakhosi well-placed to make the semi-finals, ahead of the return match in Tanzania next Saturday

Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic provided an assist and scored two goals in his side's 4-0 win over Simba SC in a Caf Champions League first leg, quarter-final at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

It's been a contrasting last two seasons for Chiefs.

Their brave run in the Champions League aside, it's been a miserable domestic campaign when comparing to last season - the team is currently 10th on the standings and just five points above the relegation zone, while in the 2019/20 season, Amakhosi were a whisker away from winning the league title, which was snatched away from them on the last day of the season by Mamelodi Sundowns.

And while Gavin Hunt has replaced Ernst Middendorp as head coach, little has changed in terms of playing personnel, which is a result of the club's Fifa transfer ban.

One thing that has changed, however, is the output of the club's main target-man, Samir Nurkovic.

Last season, his first in the PSL, the Serbian was a revelation with 13 league goals and six assists in 26 matches.

This term he's played 19 league matches and has scored just twice, with three assists.

Injuries have played their part and at one point there was also talk of Al Ahly being interested in the striker.

And while it's unlikely that Chiefs will want to offload Nurkovic at the end of the season, a player who has been battling for form in a team which has a poor season, may well have easily been tempted away, hoping perhaps for a fresh start and to play for a team more likely to win trophies.

And so, his sparkling performance, right at the tail end of the current season, could not have come at a better time for the Soweto side.

Not only will their chances of success - and perhaps even going all the way in the Champions League increase, but there will also be a greater chance of a happy, confident player who will want to stay at the club for another few seasons.

At the very least, some more goals and assists should increase the 28-year-old's market value.