Saturday Jul 04, 2020. 13:00
Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic believes that the return of football can bring joy to fans in South Africa – even if matches will be played behind closed doors.
Football in SA has been suspended since March due to coronavirus, and with infection rates and fatality numbers rising sharply in recent weeks, the country is experiencing the kind of suffering which has struck other parts of the world due to the pandemic.
However, top clubs are set to return to the training next week and a plan to play out the remainder of the 2019-20 season in a single-city, bio-safe environment (BSE) is set to begin next month.
Matches will naturally be played behind closed doors, as has been the protocol for football’s return in other parts of the world, but Nurkovic believes it will still bring joy and excitement to fans – especially Chiefs’, as they chase a first title in five years.
“We [the country] are in a difficult situation right now,” Nurkovic said, as quoted by Times Live. “I do feel that when we start again, we can bring joy to the fans once again and help the current situation somewhat.
“It will be strange to play in an empty stadium without the energy of our fans, who have been tremendous this season. But we will continue to play with them in our hearts and hopefully we end the season in a positive way.”
The Serbian striker added, “I am definitely looking forward to training. It has been a while since I last trained with the ball.
“As a professional, you cannot wait to get back on the pitch and do what is relevant to your passion of playing the game.
“At the end of a season we normally have just one month off, but now it has been three months of no proper training. This means as we resume training, we need to be cautious.
“We will be guided by the technical team and coaching staff as we ease our way back. It will be crucial for us to be mentally tough in the days ahead.
“I have watched the [return of the] English Premier League and La Liga. I have noticed how some of the players are unable to complete a full 90 minutes and things like having extra substitutions have helped.
“I have learnt from the other leagues that it is important to manage yourself well as we get back to training and everyone will be important to the team’s cause.”
He concluded, “We want to show people that we are not top of the league accidentally. We will continue to work hard for each other and ensure that we make Amakhosi family happy with our performances and results.”