Thembinkosi Lorch. Picture: GALLO IMAGES / STEVE HAAG
Thembinkosi Lorch. Picture: GALLO IMAGES / STEVE HAAG

Orlando Pirates star Thembinkosi Lorch is crossing his fingers that the two major awards he won at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) end-of-season awards ceremony in Durban at the weekend earns him a permanent place in the national team.

Lorch won the footballer of the season and the players’ player awards and hopes the accolades and excellent season he has had with Pirates will have caught the eye of Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter.

The attacking midfielder has his heart set on winning a place in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon)-bound squad to play in Egypt in June.

“I’ve been there [in the  Bafana squad] a few times, but haven’t really cemented my place‚” said the Free State-born Lorch. “I hope this award will encourage the coach to play me more if he calls me to the national team. Everyone would like to help the country in the Afcon.

“If I’m called and play [in the Afcon]‚ I will do my best. Maybe I will do even better than I’ve done for my team because I love my country and I’ve been itching to establish myself in the team. That can only happen if I get more minutes on the field.”

Bafana will face 1992 and 2015 champions Ivory Coast and 1976 winners Morocco in Group D of the finals in Egypt. Namibia are the fourth team in the group.

The footballer of the season accolade is chosen by the 16 coaches in the PSL, while the players’ player award is voted for by players (players are not allowed to vote for their teammates).

Lorch‚ who will turn 26 on July 22‚ said winning the two awards was special as the endorsement came from the clubs (players and coaches) he faced during the season.

He beat Sundowns midfielders Hlompho Kekana and Thembinkosi Zwane to both awards, even though Pirates finished second behind the title-winning Brazilians.

“I hope these awards are not only consoling me but my teammates‚ the fans‚ coaches and the club management because we tried our best in the league, but it was not to be‚” said Lorch.