Thembinkosi Lorch is expected to be a top performer again this season. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

KABWE – In-form Orlando Pirates' Thembinkosi Lorch will lead the charge against Zambia's Green Eagles in Kabwe, Zambia, in the Caf Champions League preliminary-round match on Saturday.

There may be a lot of players who stand out in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League, but one that is on everyone’s lips at the moment is Lorch. 

The Pirates star has carried on from where he left off last season with the form that saw him walk away with the Player of the Season award.

He led Bafana Bafana’s shock 1-0 victory over Egypt in the Last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations, sending South Africa to the quarterfinal. 

The Pirates man scored the only goal of that match that saw players like Egyptian and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah weep in front of their adoring fans at the Cairo International Stadium.

Lorch continued that and sent a strong message to PSL teams during the PSL’s pre-season friendly match between Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup.

He scored a stunning long-range goal and went on to be named Man of the Match.

The attacking midfielder finished the last PSL season as the second-joint highest-scorer with nine goals, providing assists in the process which has seen him catch the eye of several French clubs who have recently shown interest in the 26-year-old.

Lorch was rested in Pirates’ opening match of the season against Bloemfontein Celtic but is expected to start on Saturday.

Coach Milutin Sredejovic is hoping for even bigger performances from the Bafana Bafana star.

“He has grown a lot and you can see that he always fights for the team. He is a player with a lot of creativity and as a team, we are proud to have him,” Sredejovic said in an interview with cafonline.com. 

“As a team, we are looking forward to competing in the league and the Champions League and Lorch is one of our key players,” said the Pirates coach. 

Pirates missed out of making it to the knockout stages last season, but with the experience Lorch gained last season, the team will hope to go beyond that and challenge for the title they last won in 1995. 

African News Agency (ANA)