News Live Scores
Kaizer Chiefs v Bidvest Wits

Will Nurkovic continue where he left off? A real test of character for Kaizer Chiefs striker

14:49 SAST 2020/08/12
Samir Nurkovic celebrates a goal for Kaizer Chiefs - November 27
The 28-year-old is sitting on 11 goals from 19 starts and he's three goals behind Frank Mhango, but are we going to see better displays from him?

The PSL title race is on and so is the race for the Golden Boot award! 

Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango currently leads the goalscoring charts with 14 league goals to his name but just behind him is Bradley Grobler and Peter Shalulile, who are on 12 goals each. 

But the three strikers aren't new to PSL football and it was expected that they score goals and challenge for the award throughout the season. 

Behind them are Samir Nurkovic, Knox Mutizwa and Bonginkosi Ntuli, who are all on 11 goals each. 

With just a handful of games left in the PSL, almost every fan is interested to see how many goals the strikers will have scored come the end of the campaign. 

However, Nurkovic will be closely watched for various reasons - he's new to the PSL and took South African football by storm in his first few months in the country. 

He remains the only player to have scored a hat-trick this season but after four months of no competitive football, will the Serbian marksman pick up where he left off? 

The fact that Mhango didn't score against Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday has given players such as Nurkovic a glimmer of hope that they can overtake him in the next few weeks. 

The focus is solely on Nurkovic because not everyone gave him a chance when he first arrived at Chiefs. 

He was considered another player with no history of competing at a level similar to the one in the PSL but his doubters were quickly silenced after seeing him in action. 

Before the suspension of the season in mid-March, the 28-year-old had started rediscovering his goalscoring form as he scored three goals and registered a single assist in his last six games. 

This was after his one-match ban which he served when Amakhosi celebrated their 50th anniversary with victory over Highlands Park

The three goals scored during that period took him to within three of Mhango and things could have been better for Nurkovic if he was the club's penalty taker, just like the Malawi international is at Pirates. 

Some claimed Nurkovic had been found out by the majority of the PSL defenders when goals appeared to dry out but others blamed the lack of supply and support from his teammates for his decline in form - especially in front of goal.

Having rested enough and charged his batteries, Nurkovic certainly has a point to prove that his goalscoring exploits in the first half of the season were nothing short of class. 

But there is only one place to judge him and that is on the pitch - one would expect that his teammates have started understanding better and that the player has had time to study and analyse his opponents. 

The mental strength will also play a major role in helping him pick up from where he left off. It's common knowledge that Nurkovic appeared frustrated whenever things didn't go his way in certain matches this season and he was even criticised by opposition fans. 

The criticism, however, stems from the fact that almost everyone was in agreement that he was a quality striker but they were waiting for the decline in form to start poking fun at Chiefs and also him as an individual. 

What Nurkovic needs to do in order to be at his best in the remaining matches, is to remain calm and not allow opposition defenders to bully him as everyone saw with Mhango against Sundowns. 

He also needs to box smart by always playing close to his teammates, who, at the end of the day, will be key to him scoring goals again. 

Ernst Middendorp and his technical team also have a bigger role to play in keeping Nurkovic motivated and hungry for goals without putting too much pressure on him to win the Golden Boot award - after all, he was only expected to get better next season and expecting too much from him could break him down ahead of what is expected to be another long and tough season for Amakhosi.       

This is certainly a real test of character for Nurkovic, who after four months of no action, is still expected to produce the goods for Chiefs.