Injuries have relegated reliable Orlando Pirates attacker Thembinkosi Lorch to the sidelines for much of the season and there was an expectation that he would, at least, be back after the international break, a fortnight ago.
And when the Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer explained his absence ahead of their clash against Algeria’s ES Sétif on Wednesday, he was clearly short on details.
The Caf Confederation Cup Group A encounter will be staged at Orlando Stadium (15h00).
Pirates and ES Sétif met earlier in the competition in Ghana, playing out to a goalless draw in the opening round of the group stage.
“We know we need him [Lorch] and I know that he’s working on himself‚ and the medical team as well,” said Zinnbauer in a virtual pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Lorch has missed several games for the ‘Buccaneers’ this season as a result of suffering a tear in the abductor muscle. He limped off in the 28th minute of Pirates’ 1-1 DStv Premiership draw against SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on February 28.
And Zinnbauer admitted that he is not entirely sure when the former PSL Player of the Year will make his long-awaited return from injury despite the Pirates website reporting that Lorch had returned to training in early March, but he has yet to feature for the club.
“But I cannot say that he will be ready for Wednesday game or Saturday (in the league Soweto derby against Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium). I don’t know, we hope that we can get him back soon,” added the German coach.
The Soweto giants are at the summit of their Caf Confed Cup group with eight points from four matches, two points ahead of their nearest rivals Enyimba FC, whom they defeated in Soweto back in March.
In their most recent Confed Cup outing, Pirates thrashed Al Ahli Benghazi from Libya 3-0 at Orlando Stadium, following a goalless stalemate in the away leg.
“We have seen the clips of Setif’s other games‚ played on normal surfaces. And they played better than in this game [in Ghana]. But important for us is that we play our style‚ and the three points is the target,” concluded the Pirates coach.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi