The Buccaneers have struggled without the 2018/19 PSL Footballer of the Year, who inspired the team to the 2020 MTN8 final triumph
Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer cannot specify when one of his star players Thembinkosi Lorch might return to action.
The Bafana Bafana international sustained abductor strain injury during Bucs’ 1-1 draw with SuperSport United in a PSL match on February 24.
Lorch has since missed 10 matches, including the Soweto Derby clash against Kaizer Chiefs, and the Nedbank Cup encounter against Mamelodi Sundowns, which saw Pirates lose both games.
“It’s a good question‚” Zinnbauer said when speaking during Tuesday’s pre-match press conference with the Buccaneers set to face Algerian giants ES Setif on Wednesday.
“We know we need him and I know that he’s working on himself‚ and the medical staff too. But I cannot say that he’s ready for tomorrow or maybe for Saturday [in the league Soweto derby against Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium].
“I don’t know. We hope that we’ll get him back soon.”
It was reported in March 2021 that Lorch had handed in a transfer request in order to try and facilitate a move to an unnamed Belgian side.
Meanwhile, Pirates are currently placed at the top of the Caf Confederation Cup Group A standings and they will qualify for the quarter-finals if they secure a win over Setif.
Zinnbauer is expecting a difficult match against Setif at their iconic home ground, Orlando Stadium, with the two teams having drawn 0-0 in the reverse fixture which was played in Ghana on March 10.
“Yeah‚ I think this can help. But don’t forget the opponent – the opponent might also find the better field an advantage‚” he continued.
“We hope we will play better. In the away game we did have a few problems with this grass‚ but the opponents maybe also did.
“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 are the target.”
Pirates will be hoping to emulate their PSL rivals Sundowns and Chiefs, who have already qualified for the quarter-finals of the Caf Champions League.