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Ncikazi happy with clean bill of health as Bucs prepare for CAF semis

He said Bucs’ sick bay has cleared significantly

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Veluyeke Zulu of Chippa United challenges Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates, left, in a league match at Orlando Stadium. Lorch only recently returned from injury.
Veluyeke Zulu of Chippa United challenges Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates, left, in a league match at Orlando Stadium. Lorch only recently returned from injury.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates’ injury woes have subsided and the team will improve in their remaining five DStv Premiership matches of the season and a two-legged CAF Confederation Cup semifinal, says co-coach Mandla Ncikazi.

The Buccaneers enter a critical period that will define their 2021/22 season as a success or failure as they chase what appears to be an unlikely runners-up league finish and look to overcome Libyan side Al Ahli Tripoli in the home and away Confed semifinal.

Ncikazi said Bucs’ sick bay has cleared significantly and perfectly coincides with their hectic run-in to the end of the season as they eye a runners-up or third place league finish to qualify for the next editions of the Champions League or Confederation Cup.

“I always say the Pirates you see now is not the same team that started the season,” Ncikazi said.

“There’s progress with players coming back from injuries and we’re improving in certain areas.”

Pirates have dearly missed influential attacking midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch, who missed almost the entire first half of the season due to injury.

Lorch has been limited to 17 appearances in all competitions and managed three goals. He played only his fourth full 90-minutes of the campaign in the Confed quarterfinal 4-3 penalty shoot-out win against Simba SC in Sunday's second leg at Orlando Stadium.

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