CAPE TOWN - Orlando Pirates will have to make do without the services of Thabo Qalinge and Thembinkosi Lorch as they begin the hunt for a first Premiership title since the 2011/12 season.
Pirates will start the new league season on August 4 when they host newly-promoted side Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium. Head coach, Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic, will be desperate to get the season off to a positive start, but neither Qalinge nor Lorch are likely to be available for selection.
The former is out with a muscle abductor strain he suffered in a friendly match against Stellenbosch FC, while Lorch suffered a knock to the knee in the friendly against Cape Town City.
Pirates will also be without Thamsanqa Sangweni, who was released to joined Chippa United. Sangweni will come face to face with his former team in their second match of the campaign, just four days after the opener, when Pirates face Chippa in Port Elizabeth.
The technical team at Pirates will also be one-man light for the opening games, with former defensive midfielder Benson Mhlongo having resigned from his position as assistant coach to Sredojevic. Mhlongo has taken up the job of head coach with National First Division outfit, TS Sporting, after two seasons in the Pirtates coaching staff.
Pirates returned to South African last week after a tour of Zambia that came to an end with two friendly games at against Forest Rangers and Gomes FC at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola. The first match finished in a 2-0 win for Pirates, while the second was a 3-0 win.