Lorch’s view from the bench

Lorch during one of Bafana's training sessions in Egypt this week. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Lorch during one of Bafana's training sessions in Egypt this week. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

While biding his time on the bench at Afcon, reigning PSL player of the season Thembinkosi Lorch has been taking notes from his overseas-based Bafana Bafana colleagues.

Only coach Stuart Baxter knows if the tiny Orlando Pirates midfielder stands any chance to get a minute at the continental championships.

This, especially with changes looming in a Bafana midfield that has Themba Zwane out suspended for the round of 16 game against Egypt on Saturday night.

South Africa face the hosts at their fortress at the Cairo International Stadium in a 9pm kick off.

Lorch played a pivotal role in helping Pirates to a runners-up spot in the Absa Premiership last season, but he is yet to crack a nod for the national team.

“Things like this happen in football. You just have to be strong and wait for your chance. When the chance comes, you just have to use it,” said the 25-year-old.

His inclusion in the 23-man Bafana squad was influenced by stellar performances from in the previous campaign where Lorch scored 15 goals in 40 games across all competitions.

It is thanks to this run that some have been calling for his inclusion in the playing XI in Egypt, especially with the team struggling to open the defence of their opponents at the continental championships.

“I don’t want to comment about that. It is the coach who decides who to play. But I’m ready to deliver when I get a chance.”

For now, the player from Phelindaba township in Bloemfontein, Free State, said he has already taken notes from the experience of being one of the first-timers at an Afcon tournament.

“When I get back to the team [Pirates] my confidence will be higher. I have learnt so much from overseas-based players - Bongani [Zungu], Thulani [Serero], and the experience they bring to the team.”

Zungu and Serero are among the five midfielders who have been contesting for places in midfield alongside Hkompho Kekana, Kamohelo Mokotjo and Dean Furman.

Furman is facing a late fitness test ahead of the match against Egypt since he hurt his knee ligament last week.

While Lorch admitted that his lack of match fitness could be an issue, he pointed out that his confidence has not dropped a single bit.

The Bucs man remains hopeful, considering that Baxter was still trying to figure out his starting team against the Pharaohs.

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July 2020

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