Pirates star Lorch hopes his awards help convince Bafana coach Baxter
Orlando Pirates star Thembinkosi Lorch is crossing his fingers that the two major awards he won at the Premier Soccer League's end of the season ceremony in Durban at the weekend earns him a permanent place in the national team.
Lorch walked away with the Footballer of the Season and Absa Premiership Player’s Player awards and he now hopes that the accolades and the strong season he had with Pirates help convince Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter to have more confidence in his abilities.
The attacking midfielder admitted that he has his heart set on winning a place in the Africa Cup of Nations-bound squad that will represent SA in the continental showpiece in Egypt next month.
“I’ve been there (at Bafana) a few times but I haven’t really cemented my place‚” said the Free State born Lorch.
“I hope this award will encourage coach Stuart to play me more if he calls me to the national team. Everyone would like to help the country in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
“If I’m called and play (in the Afcon)‚ I will do my best.
"Maybe I will do even better than I’ve done for my team because I love my country and I’ve been itching to establish myself in the team.
"That can only happen if I get more minutes on the field.”
Bafana will face 1992 and 2015 champions Ivory Coast and 1976 winners Morocco in Group D of the 2019 Afcon) finals in Egypt.
Southern African neighbouring country Namibia make up the fourth team in the group.
The Footballer of the Season accolade is voted exclusively by the 16 coaches in the Premier Division while the Player’s Player is voted by players (players are not allowed to vote for their teammates).
Lorch‚ who will turn 26 on July 22‚ said winning the Footballer of the Season and the Player’s Player awards was special as the endorsement came from the clubs (players and coaches) he faced during the season.
He beat Sundowns midfielders Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane to both awards even though Pirates finished second behind the title-winning Brazilians.
“I hope this (the awards) is not only consoling me but my teammates‚ the fans‚ coaches and the club management because we tried our best in the league but it was not to be‚” said the extremely shy Pirates player.
“What we can promise our supporters is that we will gun for the league title again next season.
"We also need to do better than we did in (Caf) Champions League.
"We will go there (to the Champions League) better prepared after our experience this season.”