Orlando Pirates coach 'Micho' explains Thembinkosi Lorch’s absence

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic is increasingly under pressure to deliver silverware this season and the Ghost will be eyeing the MTN8 title as non-negotiable.
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic is increasingly under pressure to deliver silverware this season and the Ghost will be eyeing the MTN8 title as non-negotiable.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Thembinkosi Lorch picked up a muscle strain in Orlando Pirates’ final friendly match of the off-season‚ Bucs coach Milutin Sredojevic has explained of the injury that has kept last season’s Premier Soccer League Player of the Season out for three weeks.

Lorch will be available when Pirates line up against Highlands Park in their MTN8 quarterfinal at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Bafana Bafana attacking star made a return‚ having last played and scored a scorcher in the preseason Carling Black Label Cup on July 27‚ as a half-time substitute in Pirates’ 3-0 Absa Premiership defeat against SuperSport United in Nelspruit on Wednesday night.

Sredojevic said Lorch had pulled up with a thigh strain in Bucs’ preseason friendly against Tanzania’s Simba SC at Rand Stadium on July 31‚ four days after their 2-0 Black Label win against Kaizer Chiefs.

Thembinkosi Lorch is expected to start against Highlands Park.
Thembinkosi Lorch is expected to start against Highlands Park.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

“This phone here [on the table in front of the coach]‚ when you press it‚ it works‚” Sredojevic said‚ asked about Lorch’s absence in Pirates’ 3-1 league win against Bloemfontein Celtic and 1-0 Caf Champions League loss against Green Eagles in Zambia.

“When a human being has the situation that he had [it’s not the same].

“After the Carling Cup we played a friendly match against Simba of Tanzania. And in one moment when we could see that he felt an injury we pulled him out as a precautionary measure.

“Between that friendly match and our coming matches we needed to have a strategy on what we wanted.

“Do you want to put your pillar player into danger where you can lose him for a longer term‚ or are you going to use him as per the combined medical and fitness advice of his present state?

“In that regard he was brought in last night [against SuperSport] as an impact of fresh legs in a situation where the team needed it.

Thembinkosi Lorch of South Africa takes a shot during the African Cup of Nations, Last 16 match between Egypt and South Africa at Cairo International Stadium on July 06, 2019 in Cairo, Egypt.
Thembinkosi Lorch of South Africa takes a shot during the African Cup of Nations, Last 16 match between Egypt and South Africa at Cairo International Stadium on July 06, 2019 in Cairo, Egypt.
Image: Ahmed Hasan/Gallo Images

“So any question as to why he was on the bench‚ or whatever‚ the simple answer is: his present state allowed him to have exactly the amount of minutes that he had.”

Lorch played a starring role‚ scoring the winner in Bafana’s 1-0 shock of hosts Egypt in Cairo in the Africa Cup of Nations in early July.

MTN8 quarterfinals -

Saturday August 17:

Cape Town City v Polokwane City (Newlands Stadium‚ 3pm)

Orlando Pirates v Highlands Park (Orlando Stadium‚ 6pm)

Mamelodi Sundowns v Bloemfontein Celtic (Lucas Moripe Stadium‚ 8.15pm)

Sunday August 18:

Bidvest Wits v SuperSport United (Bidvest Stadium‚ 3pm)

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