Will Sundowns unleash Lorch against former club Pirates?
"His performances will speak for themselves and he knows that," says Mokwena.
Thembinkosi Lorch joined Mamelodi Sundowns from Orlando Pirates during the January transfer window. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
When the midweek DStv Premiership games were cancelled, the next big talking point on the calendar was the mouth-watering fixture between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.
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The clash of the two titans will take place at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday in what is expected to be a fierce contest.
Another big question on the public’s lips is whether new Sundowns high profile recruit Thembinkosi Lorch will make his debut for the Brazilians against his former club after making the move to Chloorkop three weeks ago.
Speaking on Radio 2000, Masandawana coach Rulani Mokwena played his cards close to his chest when asked if the former Pirates darling is in contention for a place in the starting XI.
“He’s (Lorch) training with the team like all the other players and he’s looking okay and there is still a lot of work to be done from a physical perspective,” he said.
“His performances will speak for themselves and he knows that. He’s got the responsibility like a lot of players and at Sundowns meritocracy is very important. Lorch has to work hard like everyone else to earn his place in the team and merit a start.”
Lorch played his best football during the 2018/19 season under coach Milutin Sredojević who was assisted by Mokwena at Pirates. He was named PSL Footballer of the Season and Mokwena is hoping their reunion will help elevate Lorch to the same heights again.
“I don’t have to speak for Lorch. I think everybody knows the capacity that he can produce. I know personally because I worked with Lorch during the season where he was footballer of the season,” Mokwena added.
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“I think we can all attest that if he was playing at that level, he should have played his second AFCON with the quality that he has. If you remember the 2018/19 season, I think Lorch had nine assists and seven goals from a midfield position and he could have scored a lot more.
“He’s the type of player that has huge influence in and around the box. He’s an extremely versatile player but the responsibility lies on us to support him like we do with all our players. We’ve got the responsibility to make sure they are better versions of themselves and then let their talent do the rest of the talking. That’s why they are at Sundowns because we believe they have the quality to be here.”