Lorch, Pule problems behind Orlando Pirates slump

5:12 PM GMT 29/04/2022
Orlando Pirates Thembinkosi Lorch Vincent Pule.jpg
This is in stark contrast to previous years, when the pair have been instrumental in making the Buccaneers’ attack tick

In what has been a frustrating season by Orlando Pirates’ own high standards, Thembinkosi Lorch and Vincent Pule have made minimal contributions.

Pule has been out since October after injuring himself on Bafana Bafana duty, while a combination of injury and some disciplinary issues have limited Lorch’s impact.

Pule has played in only seven league and cup games for Bucs this term while Lorch has been involved in 11 of 26 league games, five Caf Confederation Cup outings and two matches in the Nedbank Cup. He’s yet to score and has weighed in with only three assists.

Compare that to their previous years at Pirates and it’s clear to see where Bucs have lost out.

In Lorch’s previous four-and-a-half season with Pirates, he played 125 games and scored 28 times as well as adding 25 assists.

That’s a roughly goal involvement every second game, compared to just one goal involvement every six matches this season.

Pule has managed three assists this season, from just seven games – showing Pirates what they have been missing.

In his previous seasons with the Sea Robbers, he’s played 109 games, scored 21 and assisted eight times.

It’s plain to see what Pirates have been missing in the current campaign.

Lorch has been more involved of late, although he’s yet to find his top form and this was illustrated with a somewhat frustrating performance from the former Cape Town All Stars attacker in the 0-0 draw with Chippa United in midweek.

Up front Bucs have struggled to convert superior overall play into goals, and none of the Pirates strikers have fully convinced this term.

That’s partially down to their own form, although it could also be due the lack of quality service from midfield and it’s largely been left to Deon Hotto to make things happen.

Fortune Makaringe has been okay, but not really at his sparkling best, while Terrence Dzvukamanja, Linda Mntambo and Kabelo Dlamini have all been underwhelming.

The effect is that Pirates are lacking potency and a cutting edge in the final third – a result of misfiring strikers and a shortage of quality supply.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

Pule is expected back any day now after recovering from injury, and while Lorch has not been at his best yet, at least he’s been able to accumulate some match minutes and fitness over the past few weeks.

Pirates are of course still in the Caf Confederation Cup, and if Lorch and Pule can find top form quickly – individually and as a pair - and help to get the likes of Kwame Peprah, Tshegofatso Mabasa, Zakhele Lepasa and Gabadinho Mhango firing in the goals, there’s no reason why Bucs can’t make it to the final.