The 27-year-old has missed the Buccaneers’ last six games across all competitions but is now close to making a returning
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer says “the risk was too high” to play Thembinkosi Lorch in last Sunday’s Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs, but the winger is expected back after the current Fifa international period.
Lorch was injured in a Premier Soccer League clash against SuperSport United on February 24 in a match he lasted just 28 minutes.
Having missed three league games, two Caf Confederation Cup assignments and the 3-1 Nedbank Cup Last-16 win over Maritzburg United, Lorch’s injury has also sidelined him from Bafana Bafana duty.
“This is the information [Lorch returning after the Fifa break] I got from him after speaking with him on Friday morning,” said Zinnbauer as per Phakaaathi.
“It was not possible for him to be named on the match-day squad for the Soweto derby. He was in pain and the risk was too high for him to play. And the medical team said [he will be able to play] after the Fifa break.
“I think he will be available and I hope he is not the only one [coming back from an injury] because we need to get more players back. I am hopeful we will get more players back after the break, and Terrence Dzukamanja as well. We have some players back, but they can’t play 90 minutes as yet. Now we have the break and we will come back stronger with more players.”
Lorch is not the only forward limiting the German tactician’s attacking options. With strikers likes of Frank Mhango, Zakhele Lepasa, Tshegofatso Mabasa and Jean-Marc Makusu battling injuries recently, this has seen Zinnbauer playing midfielders Linda Mntambo, Deon Hotto and Fortune Makaringe as centre-forwards.
Pirates, however, managed to knit a 10-match unbeaten run amid an attacking crisis until last weekend’s Soweto derby defeat.
The Buccaneers resume their fixture schedule after the Fifa break with a Caf Confederation Cup visit to Al Ahli Benghazi on April 2.
They will then return home to host Maritzburg United in a PSL encounter five days later.