Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX
Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX

There is much doubt over the timeline for Orlando Pirates’ attacker Thembinkosi Lorch’s long-awaited return from injury‚ and coach Josef Zinnbauer admits he is in the dark.

Lorch will not be available when Pirates meet Algerian outfit ES Setif in a Caf Confederation Cup tie at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, Zinnbauer said (kickoff 3pm). Lorch has been out with an abductor strain injury since limping off in Pirates’ match against SuperSport United on February 28.

Before that the Bafana Bafana international last played a full game against Cape Town City on February 9.

The Pirates website reported Lorch had returned to training in early March‚ but just more than two weeks later he has yet to play‚ and Zinnbauer could not specify when the player might return.

“It’s a good question‚” Zinnbauer said when asked about the latest on Lorch in Tuesday’s media conference ahead of the clash against Setif.

Group A leaders Pirates were perhaps edged in the goalless opening match — played in Accra — against Setif, and the long grass of the Ohene Djan Stadium surface did seem to limit the SA club’s quick-passing game. Bucs will aim to move the ball faster on their well-trimmed Orlando Stadium turf‚ but Zinnbauer cautioned that Setif are no slouches at carpet football either.

“Yeah‚ I think this can help. But don’t forget the opponent ... might also find the better field an advantage‚” the coach said.  “We hope we will play better. In the away game we did have a few problems with this grass‚ but the opponents maybe also did.”

Pirates lead Group A with eight points from four games‚ Nigeria’s Enyimba have six‚ and Libya’s Al Ahli Benghazi and Setif four apiece.

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