Orlando Pirates could begin their 2018/19 Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign without two of their attackers in Thabo Qalinge and Thembinkosi Lorch.
The Buccaneers get their season underway at home to Highlands Park next weekend, but that could happen without both Qalinge and Lorch.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Houghton-based club said Qalinge is still on the mend after sustaining a muscle abductor injury in a friendly.
The former Mpumalanga Black Aces star picked up the injury during their pre-season friendly against Stellenbosch FC at the weekend.
Moreover, Lorch is yet to recover from a knee injury he sustained during their pre-season friendly against Cape Town City, but he is receiving treatment.
The club has also announced that Qalinge is still experiencing some discomfort and as a result, he will continue working on his rehabilitation.
Pirates finished second on the log last season in coach Milutin Sredojevic’s first full season with the side, and they will want to start where they left off in the upcoming term.
However, with the duo doubtful for the clash at the Orlando Stadium, the Serbian coach will have to find ways of unlocking the Lions of the North defence.
“Winger Thabo Qalinge looks set to miss the start of the Absa Premiership when Orlando Pirates host Highlands Park in the league opener at Orlando Stadium next week,” said the statement.
“The 26-year-old suffered a muscle abductor strain in a friendly match against Stellenbosch FC at the weekend,” said the club.
“According to the Bucs medical team, ‘Section’ as he is affectionately known, is still experiencing some discomfort and as a result he will continue working on his rehabilitation,” added the statement.
“Meanwhile, Thembinkosi Lorch is also considered a doubtful starter against the Lions of the North,” announced the club.
“The 25-year old Lorch limped off the pitch in Pirates’ friendly match against Cape Town City, after sustaining a knock to the knee and has since been receiving treatment,” concluded the Soweto giants.
Qalinge featured in 19 matches in all competitions for Pirates and netted four goals last season while Lorch scored four goals as well as providing five assists in 24 official matches.