Thembinkosi Lorch set for Valentine’s Day debut with Mamelodi Sundowns

Thembinkosi Lorch during the All-Stars training session at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

The 30-year-old Orlando Pirates midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch shocked The Ghost when he completed his R13 million move to the defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: Philip Maete/BackpagePix

Published Jan 29, 2024


New Mamelodi Sundowns acquisition Thembinkosi Lorch has penned an emotional letter to his former club Orlando Pirates after his shock move on transfer deadline day.

The 30-year-old midfielder shocked The Ghost when he completed his R13 million move to the defending DStv Premiership champions. Lorch joins a glittering list of players to make the move from Mayfair to Chloorkop with the likes of Teko Modise, Gift Leremi and Oupa Manyisa having done so in the past.

Lorch scored 34 goals and provided 30 assists in his 176 appearances for Pirates, but struggled with fitness and off-field controversy in recent seasons and now has an opportunity to revive his career under a familiar face in Rulani Mokwena.

Having spent nearly 10 years at the club, Lorch expressed his gratitude to the Pirates ownership, technical team and supporters through an open letter from the heart on his social media account.

‘Filled with unforgettable memories’

“It is with a mix of emotions that I announce my departure from Orlando Pirates FC. My time has been filled with unforgettable memories, personal growth and the chance to play alongside very talented football players,” he wrote.

“I extend my deepest appreciation to the chairman, Dr Irvin Khoza, for providing me with the opportunity to play for a club that has so much history and for all your support during the difficult times in my life,” he added.

“Thank you to coach Jose Riveiro for his belief in me, the former and current coaches and the staff, the entire management team and my teammates for all the memories we have built together.

“Most importantly, thank you to the passionate Buccaneers who have been my source of inspiration. Your loyalty and unwavering support have fuelled my journey and it has been an honour to wear the iconic Buccaneer jersey.”

Sundowns head coach Mokwena was both the assistant coach and thereafter caretaker coach in Lorch’s best season, when he was crowned the best footballer in the land in 2019.

A match made in Chloorkop

The duo will now reunite at Chloorkop as Sundowns look to seal the league title as well as claim their second CAF Champions League title. Lorch expressed his excitement at joining the mighty Brazilians and thanked the club for handing him an opportunity.

“I am looking forward to this next chapter of my career with Mamelodi Sundowns FC and I will do my best to support my new teammates and contribute towards the club’s success,” he wrote.

“Thank you to the chairman of Mamelodi Sundowns, the management team, coach Rulani, and his successful technical team for having confidence in me joining this prestigious team.”

Sundowns supporters will welcome the arrival of Lorch, given the ageing legs of 34-year-old Themba Zwane, with Lorch expected to take over the metal at the club if he is to retire any time soon.

Masandawana will get an opportunity to watch Lorch in the yellow and blue of Sundowns when the club returns to domestic action on February 14 against Golden Arrows.


IOL Sport