Super Saturday: Samir Nurkovic says Kaizer Chiefs deserve the league title
Kaizer Chiefs have fought for the Absa Premiership title for more than a year‚ and ultimately deserve it‚ but know that it will take an almighty effort to secure it on “Super Saturday” against desperate Baroka FC‚ striker Samir Nurkovic has said.
Nurkovic’s presence results in goals‚ as was displayed as the Serb’s glanced header provided the assist for Khama Billiat’s ninth-minute winner in Chiefs’ 1-0 victory against Chippa United on Wednesday night to set up Saturday’s blockbuster final round.
Leaders Chiefs‚ facing second-last Baroka at Bidvest Stadium‚ have 56 points and a +21 goal difference. Second-placed defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns have 56 points and a +18 difference meeting third-last Black Leopards at Dobsonville Stadium.
“It’s a really important game for us‚” said Nurkovic‚ whose 13 goals as the league’s joint-fourth top-scorer have played a pivotal role in his team being within touching distance of what would be the Serb’s first league title.
“As everybody knows we have had a good season‚ and we were on the top since the beginning. And definitely we are going to give our best and fight until the last minute‚ and try to secure this win and this title.
“I think this team deserves it because we were fighting for more than a year for that. And we have to go with a clear mindset‚ and just enjoy our time on the field‚ and‚ ja‚ secure the league.”
Baroka are arguably the more desperate of the two opponents facing Chiefs and Sundowns on Saturday.
Already in the second-last playoff spot on 28 points‚ Bakgaga know they need a win to escape it. Downs’ opponents Leopards are a point ahead of Baroka (29)‚ and can keep an eye on events at Bidvest Stadium‚ and if Chiefs are leading Lidoda Duvha might relax that margin against Downs.
“The discussions among the players are that we have to keep up our fighting spirit‚ our positive thoughts. We have to keep our confidence from the last match‚” Nurkovic said.
“It was very good that we won it‚ and that was also good to build our confidence for the last game.
“Baroka are fighting relegation. [But] like everybody has seen‚ there haven’t been any easy matches in these last eight games. Everybody is fighting for something – some against relegation‚ some for the top eight‚ some to be champions.
“But‚ like I said‚ we were log leaders from the beginning of the season. We are going to give our best on the field and this is the only thing we have to think about right now.”
Chiefs in December had a 13-point lead over Sundowns‚ and 10 over then second-placed SuperSport United. Jittery periods have seen that gap whittled to zero‚ but Amakhosi do still hold the advantage of a superior goal difference desperately seeking to overturn four previous campaigns without silverware in the great Soweto club’s 50th anniversary season.
Sundowns are chasing their own milestone of their 10th championship in the Premier Soccer League era.
Absa Premiership final round -
Saturday (all 3.30pm):
- Mamelodi Sundowns v Black Leopards (Dobsonville Stadium)
- Chippa United v Lamontville Golden Arrows (Orlando Stadium)
- AmaZulu v Highlands Park (Lucas Moripe Stadium)
- Baroka FC v Kaizer Chiefs (Bidvest Stadium)
- Bloemfontein Celtic v Maritzburg United (Tuks Stadium)
- Bidvest Wits v Polokwane City (FNB Stadium)
- Orlando Pirates v Stellenbosch FC (Ellis Park)
- Cape Town City v SuperSport United (Loftus Versfeld)