September 25, 2021

Orlando Pirates star Lorch ruled out for the rest of the year with injury

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The 28-year-old has not featured in any competitive match for Bucs so far this season and will spend a lengthy time on the sidelines

Orlando Pirates interim co-coach Fadlu Davids says Thembinkosi Lorch will not be able to take part in any of the Buccaneers’ remaining matches in 2021.

The attacker has a shoulder problem that has kept him on the sidelines since featuring for Pirates in the Carling Black Label Cup in early August. 

That has seen him miss four competitive games the Buccaneers have played so far this season.

“We won’t see him for the rest of the year with a long-term injury,” Davids told the media in a brief response to the question about Lorch’s injury on Saturday.

Serious fitness issues also hit Lorch last season which saw him spend 79 days out and was unavailable for 16 games after a tear in his abductor muscle. 

Pirates continue to endure playing without key players due to injuries.

Also sidelined is defender Innocent Maela, who like Lorch, featured in the Carling Black Label Cup but has been out since then with what former coach Josef Zinnbauer said is a “bone problem.”

Striker Zakhele Lepasa has been battling injury since last season while Ben Motshwari and Tshegofatso Mabasa recently returned to fitness and took part in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier Soccer League win against Swallows FC.

Mabasa was back to make an immediate impact by powerfully heading in the goal which separated Pirates and the Dube Birds after coming on as a substitute.

“He [Mabasa] was cleared after our first match against Swallows so he is still in the process of going through his pre-season, so to speak,” added Davids.

“We are building him up on his individual periodisation plan but so far he is doing well. We know he cannot complete 90 minutes as yet in terms of the intensity that we want. But step by step he will get there.

“Yes, he always has a goal in him. He is a different type of striker from what we have and he is always at the right place at the right time with that instinct of smelling the moment and being in the right place. Not a lot of players have that, but he has it.”

Mabasa’s goal fired Pirates to their first win of the season after struggling in the MTN8 elimination by the same opponents as well as two other league games.

“In every match you play, you have that pressure as a coach. We know that we needed the three points but more importantly, we needed the performance,” continued Davids.

“It’s a process in terms of the point where the squad is at right now. You lose a coach [Zinnbauer] and you have to stabilise, you have to look at what was good in the past and what are the priorities to fix things and improve. 

“Yes the goal came late but we knew in the second half Swallows have a trend of bringing in two new wingers and that then opens up the game. It was for us to wait for that moment to be able to impact our subs.”

Pirates now switch focus to visiting Chippa United next Saturday for their fourth league match of the season.

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