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

Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena says Thembinkosi Lorch is still the best player in the country.

Lorch received a red card in the match against Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night and while Mokwena conceded that the Pirates player deserved to be sent off‚ he still sang his praises.

The footballer of the season award winner is yet to scale the heights that won him the accolade in the previous campaign‚ but Mokwena would hear none of it.

“If someone wants to argue with me‚ then we can argue‚ because I talk stats, maybe with others it’s an opinion‚” said Mokwena.

“The footballer of the season award is at Thembinkosi Lorch’s house and he’s still the best player in the country.”

Lorch was handed a red card by referee Masixole Bambiso after he clashed with Polokwane forward Puleng Tlolane‚ who was also sent off.

Tlolane blasted the ball at Lorch after a tackle and when the Pirates player lashed out‚ the two tried to fool Bambiso by diving to the ground moments after pushing each other.

“We got the red card‚ deservedly I think‚” said Mokwena. “It is a red card for retaliation. “Nyoso [Lorch] shouldn’t have retaliated but we spoke to him about it. With a little more emotional intelligence he could have avoided the situation.”

Mokwena‚ however‚ dismissed suggestions that his talisman could be wilting under the weight of expectation after he was named as the best player in country last season.

“He’s still the reigning footballer of the season‚” said Mokwena. “Sometimes I think we put undue pressure because of social media and some of the things that he reads.”

Pirates won the game 3-2 courtesy of goals from Gabadinho Mhango‚ Kabelo Dlamini and Tshegofatso Mabasa‚ who scored his sixth league goal of the season.