Newly crowned SA best player, Thembinkosi Lorch, has cited “extra training” as the key factor that propelled him to the Absa Premiership’s top individual prizes at the weekend.
The Orlando Pirates talisman was the biggest winner at the PSL awards on Sunday, bagging the PSL footballer of the season and the premiership player’s player of the season gongs on the same night his teammate Vincent Pule also walked away with the goal of the season accolade.
“I go to the gym at night just to put in some extra work and I think it helped. I just have to keep on doing that,” beamed the tiny Lorch, who edged the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane to the two main awards.
“If you want to be the best player in the PSL you have to score goals and create some for the team. You have to show who you are.”
The footballer of the season is exclusively voted for by the 16 PSL coaches, while the players vote for their peer.
“It shows that they appreciate my work.”
Lorch – who finished as Bucs’ top scorer with 15 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions – also credited his success to his club’s technical team and his teammates, with particular praise for the team’s specialist strikers’ coach Stéphane Adam.
“We do finishing every week. I thank the technical team for guiding us – for making us to be better players.
“My teammates also deserve credit because I wouldn’t have been here had it not been for them,” added the talisman, who thrived when he was deployed on either wing or as a striker.
The individual prizes for Lorch and Pule compensated for what was yet another season to forget for the Buccaneers, who finished the race without silverware.
Pirates were beaten to the league title by Sundowns on the final day of the campaign just over a week ago.
Lorch maintains his team still had a good show despite the setback that also saw them falling short in the CAF Champions League where Pirates failed to progress beyond the group stage.
“It’s disappointing but I believe we had a good season. We were just unfortunate that we had nothing to show. People will always judge you by what the team brings.
“If you check we lost on penalties in MTN8 [to SuperSport United in the first round] and the Telkom Knockout [to Baroka FC in the final].”
As for how Pirates can turn things around next season, the response from Lorch was direct: “We need to win our games to make our supporters happy.”
All the award winners:
PSL footballer of the season: Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates)
Players’ player of the season: Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates)
Goalkeeper of the season: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United)
Defender of the season: Ricardo Nascimento (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Midfielder of the season: Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Young player of the season: Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United)
Absa-lutely awesome goal: Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates)
Top scorer: Mwape Musonda (Black Leopards, 15 goals)
Coach of the season: Pitso Mosimane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Referee of the season: Abongile Tom
Assistant referee of the season: Emmanuel de Sani