"I'm in the best form of my career" - Kur Kur
A Grand Final winner in his first year at Adelaide City, South Sudan international Kur Kur is thriving at The Zebras. He hopes his current form can help land him a professional contract in the A-League Men.
The 22-year old attacker is one of the hottest talents in South Australia. His attacking input helped City end an 11-year trophy drought last season.
Born in Kenya, Kur moved to Australia when he was two years old and started playing football at eight.
"My first club was Modbury Vista, playing U8s and U9s there," Kur told Front Page Football recently.
"I got picked up by the Skillaroos program in South Australia later on, and then went to Modbury Jets when I was 16...until I reached the first team."
Kur continued to move up the South Australian football pyramid. In 2020, he switched to Croydon Kings from Modbury Jets mid-season, featuring for the Polonia first grade team.
For Kur, playing against senior men at a young age didn't intimidate him.
"I started playing first grade when I was 17," Kur said.
"I was never scared playing against senior men because the people around me always had confidence in me. I just got on the field and enjoyed being there on my first-grade debut. Even being young today, I'm not scared [of] who I play against."
In 2021, Kur moved to NPL SA giants Adelaide City to further develop his career.
"Adelaide City is one of the biggest clubs in South Australia," Kur said.
"When I was approached by Paul Pezos (current head coach), I didn't doubt the offer to join City. I wanted to grow my football career, and I believed Paul Pezos was the right man to help me develop my skills.
"[He] is a really good coach; he knows how to handle players on an individual level. He has a very good understanding of the game.
"Paul sees the game from a different perspective, and he always helps young players develop and push them to the next level."
In 2021, City finished second in the NPL SA regular season before winning the Grand Final on penalties against Adelaide Comets.
"My first year at City was very good," Kur said.
"We were so close to winning the minor premiership. We lost the league by only a few minutes to Comets; it came down to the last game of the season.
"We were disappointed about that, but winning the Grand Final later was a big achievement because City didn't win the league in eleven years.
"Being with that group of players and that coaching staff to win the Grand Final was amazing."
Kur also featured for the Black and White in the Australia Cup Round of 32. The side lost 1-0 to eventual champions Melbourne Victory.
"I was unfortunate not to start that game against Melbourne Victory as I was coming back from an injury," he said.
"But coming on, that moment was amazing to play against [A-League Men] quality. We played well during those 90 minutes, but unfortunately, we conceded a penalty in injury time.
"Overall, though, I enjoyed being part of that game."
Kur Kur has been in red-hot form to start 2022, with four goals in four appearances, including a hat-trick against Cumberland United.
He believes he is playing his best football yet.
"I feel like I'm in the best form of my career," Kur said.
"In previous seasons, I had a few injuries, but this year I started pre-season well.
"I'm very lucky that I'm fit and playing, and it's the strongest start I've had. I want to continue building this form."
Kur is of South Sudanese heritage and is proud of his African roots. He has visited South Sudan many times and opened up about the country's passion for football.
"Football is a way of life in South Sudan," he said.
"You can say the same about other countries in Africa, but in South Sudan, you see football everywhere...kids kicking a ball [in] every street. It's the number one sport in the country."
In January, Kur was again called up by the football association to represent South Sudan in friendlies against Uzbekistan and Jordan in the United Arab Emirates.
"The previous manager for the national team saw my footage," Kur said.
"He looked into my footage, the way I played and dribbled. He was happy with it, and I got the phone call to get the opportunity to represent South Sudan on the international stage."
Kur was grateful for the opportunity to spend time in an international environment.
"The experience with the national team was very good," Kur said.
"To be with the team was a completely different environment, different experience, and I'm very grateful for that."
There are many young South Sudanese footballers worldwide, particularly in Australia. Kur says the football association closely scouts for talent down under.
"The South Sudanese Football Association keeps an eye out for talent in Australia," Kur said.
"They are looking at South Sudanese players around the world too, such as in the United States or Europe. But the association keeps their eyes on young South Sudanese talent coming up in Australia.
"When I was in camp, I could see how the football association is trying hard to build South Sudanese football. They are trying hard to grow and develop [it]."
Kur hopes his current form at Adelaide City can develop interest from A-League Men sides and land him a professional contract.
"I have aspirations to play professional football," Kur said.
"Hopefully, I can play for an A-League Men club. It is the next level, and I hope that one day I will play professional football, whether it's in Australia or somewhere in Europe."
The presence of African footballers continues to rise in Australia at an international, A-Leagues, and NPL level.
Just from South Sudan alone, there are many footballers with Australian and South Sudanese links, such as Valentino Yuel, Abraham Majok, Alou Kuol, and Jing Reec. All have ties between Australia and South Sudan.
Entertainers such as Kur Kur will continue to add creative flair to Australian football. The sport continues to be the main ingredient in showcasing talents across Australia from various backgrounds worldwide.
Like this article? Then read a similar interview with upcoming NPL NSW star Jaiden Kucharski by clicking here.