Fasting and lockdown: Kaizer Chiefs' Samir Nurkovic explains how he's coping

07 May 2020 - 13:59 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs warming up during the Absa Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Kaizer Chiefs at Moses Mabhida Stadium on January 25, 2020 in Durban, South Africa.
Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs warming up during the Absa Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Kaizer Chiefs at Moses Mabhida Stadium on January 25, 2020 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurković has given insight into his daily training routine while observing the holy month of Ramadan as a Muslim.

Nurković and defender Yagan Sasman follow the Islamic faith at Chiefs and the Serbian said this month brings different set of challenges for him as he has to manage training and diet.

“I am constantly in contact with the coach‚ trainers and the club doctors. They have guided me on how to approach training as well as what my diet needs to be‚” said Nurković‚ who has scored 12 goals and provided three assists in 24 matches in all competitions this season.

“I normally have breakfast at around 4am and begin the fast just after 5am. Until Monday we had a 10am video training session‚ but with the change in regulations‚ I jog around at 7.30am for half an hour‚ train and then get some rest.

“Here the fast finishes fairly early‚ so just after 5pm or so I have dinner and relax for a while. Because of all this‚ the training does not take a real toll on me as it is also not hot and the days are not too long.”

Nurković added that he is receving support from Chiefs’ technical team and his teammates.

“My faith is important to my success and I always had an eye on Ramadan. I was planning as to how I would approach it had we been in our usual system.

“I would have given my all to my training regime. Generally‚ my coaches and teammates always help in these situations and are mindful and always manage me in a good way.”

Chiefs team doctor Mohammed Moosajee‚ who has worked with players like Hashim Amla at the Proteas‚ said sticking to a training regime and diet is important for someone who is fasting in Ramadan.

“Generally‚ our training is low intensity in the morning and prior to them breaking the fast. They train again at higher intensity and burn a lot of calories. So‚ when they do break their fast‚ they need to take in the fuel so as to replenish whatever they have lost to cover up for the fast and exercise‚” said Moosajee.

“If we look at our two [Muslim] players‚ we have had to individualise our plans for them.

“Yagan is used to current fasting in the South African conditions‚ while Samir comes from a different environment where the food is different and also the weather conditions differ. The plan for each player is tailored for them.”

Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp said of the issue of his players training in Ramadan: “We discussed the approach we should take as the technical team. So‚ Samir and Yagan have been managing well.”

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