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Unpacking the NPL’s latest international success story

With the A-League in off-season mode for the next few months, Australian football fans are turning to their respective state’s NPL competitions for a fix.

The NPL offers a wonderful array of multicultural food at suburban grounds coupled with some very talented semi-professional players.

Kur Kur has been phenomenal in the SANPL this season with Adelaide City and is widely regarded as the best attacking player at NPL level nationally in 2022.

In the SANPL Kur is ranked first in chances created (28), first in dribbles completed (98), first in key passes (16) and first in attacking challenges won (155). He’s also second in shots on target (29), second in goals scored (11), third in pass success among wingers/strikers (494), fourth in assists (4) and fifth in tackle succession amongst wingers/strikers (33).

With those remarkable stats, Kur has made a surprise European move, signing for FK Radnički in Serbia’s SuperLiga.

It has been quite the meteoric rise for Kur, who was born in Kenya and moved to Adelaide with his family when he was just two years old.

His junior football was with Modbury Vista before he moved on to South Australia’s Skillaroos program and then signed for the Modbury Jets as a raw 16-year-old.

After a short stint with the Croydon Kings, Kur made the jump to historic powerhouse of Australian football Adelaide City in 2021, where he has been on a tear ever since,

(Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Given a licence to roam and entertain with his natural flair by City coach Paul Pezos, Kur has amassed a highlight reel full of spectacular goals and trickery.

He’s able to receive the ball at close quarters and dribble past players on both his left and right sides at full speed while evading challenges.

The best attacking players always tend to be able to have time compared to their opponents, and Kur has this time-stopping ability in abundance while on the ball, almost as if the rest of the match moves in slow motion.

Now that Kur has added play-making to his repertoire with the ability to thread a pass, there are two facets of his game that need attention: heading and conditioning.

At 188 centimetres and with a good vertical leap, Kur should be a target for his teammates at the end of crosses.

Conditioning-wise, though Kur is able to run out a full match, he’s had some niggling soft tissue injuries since his teens that need to be addressed.

The likelihood of wearing the green and gold of Australia is no more though, after debuting in early 2022 for South Sudan.

At 22 years of age, it is somewhat surprising Kur hasn’t played professional football in the A-League, in particular with hometown club Adelaide United. Adelaide has been an absolute hotbed for attacking players with African heritage over the past few years, but with the sheer volume of talent, some are unfortunately overlooked.

A move to Serbia might seem out of the blue, but there’s an academy, ex-players and a scout with direct links that have seen SANPL players trial and sign for clubs in the past. Vanuatu international Jared Clark notably spent time with FK Vojvodina

Kur’s new club, FK Radnički, narrowly avoided relegation in the playoffs last season after a campaign in which goals were hard to come by.

He will be the only player not from the Balkans in the side and will have to deal with the language barrier, verbal abuse and violence from the ultras as well as the shadowy politics that are part and parcel of Serbian football.

While it may not be the highest standard, the Serbian SuperLiga has proven to be a finishing school for footballers with exceptional technical ability, regularly selling players to the big four European leagues each year.

There is no question that Kur Kur has the football ability to succeed in Europe, but whether he can navigate the perils associated with Serbian football is another story.

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