Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
23 Jan 2020
9:52 am

Team goals top priority for Chiefs coach Middendorp

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Ernst Middendorp is a coach who doesn't like praising players individually and when asked about Samir Nurkovic's impressive run, he deflected it and said it was not only about the Serbian attacker.

Ernst Middendorp of Kaizer Chiefs (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Nurkovic took his tally to 10 goals when he scored against Black Leopards in a 1-1 draw at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday. He became the only Amakhosi player after Bernard Parker in the 2013/14 season to reach double digits in terms of scoring.

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“It doesn’t matter (who scores),” said Middendorp. “If it is Nurkovic, if it is Leonardo (Castro) or somebody from other areas. It is not really interesting. I am happy for him, happy for Leonardo and happy for the other guys who have been scoring.

“We have a good goal difference in total and that’s a result of the five or six months we have been together,” he added.

Nurkovic’s bullish runs has seen him leave a trail of destruction in his wake.

But that has also somehow made him enemy number one for defenders and there is a feeling that he is now being targeted.

Earlier this season, he had to miss three games after he was left with a gaping wound above his left knee after a clash with an AmaZulu defender and the wound needed stitching.

“You make your own picture,” said Middendorp, when asked if he felt he was being targeted. Nurkovic was also a victim of some harsh tackles against Leopards.

“I think the referee decided, he has the opinion that it was in the frame of the rules by allowing it.

“Ask the referee, I am not the right one (to answer that).

“But of course if you are successful, if you are providing a good strike force you get targeted in some way,” he added.

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Amakhosi’s front line combination of Nurkovic and Castro has produced a total of 17 goals with 12 games still to play in the Absa Premiership.

This is a good sign for a team who are on a quest to end a five-year trophy drought.

The Naturena-based side are currently top of the standings with 42 points.

That is seven points clear of their nearest chasers Mamelodi Sundowns after 18 games.

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