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Should Orlando Pirates let go of Lorch and Shonga?

14:24 SAST 2020/08/15
Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates, October 2019
The two players were suspended for breaking Covid-19 protocols this week but is it time for the Buccaneers to ship them out?

Orlando Pirates have two of their attacking players in Thembinkosi Lorch and Justine Shonga suspended for breaking Biologically Safe Environment (BSE) protocols.

The two players now have to face the music from the club's disciplinary committee before they can be allowed to join the rest of their teammates in the bio-bubble.

The suspension of Shonga hasn't really raised eyebrows because of media reports that he could leave the Sea Robbers in the near future after falling down the pecking order this season. 

But the majority of fans were disappointed and taken by surprise by the news of Lorch breaking Covid-19 protocols because he's regarded as one of the star players in the current squad. 

The news came on the back of an interview Lorch gave to one media house that he was hoping Pirates would accept several European offers they rejected last year.

Lorch admitted that he was still heartbroken and that the decision not to allow him to leave impacted him psychologically. 

Is it time for the Buccaneers to let go of the attacking duo? 

After a great season last term, Lorch was touted as the next big PSL star to go abroad but that didn't happen because he was still considered an important member of the Pirates team at the time. 

His decline in form, however, proved otherwise and fans started asking questions as to whether or not he was still fully committed to the club. 

He hasn't been at the club that long to be considered big-headed and hasn't really achieved anything with Pirates in terms of the trophies won apart from the individual awards he got last season. 

However, that doesn't mean he has underachieved as a Pirates player, but outgrowing the brand could be problematic for Lorch. 

There are cases of players who stayed at Pirates for longer than expected - and had achieved more than what Lorch has in their careers. 

For instance, Teko Modise had to be transferred to Mamelodi Sundowns after he didn't see eye-to-eye with then-coach Ruud Krol. 

At the time, he was the star of the team and the management's decision to let him go came as a shock to the country - but the club moved on and still managed to succeed without him. 

Just three years ago, Oupa Manyisa had achieved almost everything with the Buccaneers - and won all the domestic competitions with the club. 

But as soon as his performances declined, the club decided to let him go and join Sundowns - he was the club's captain and the player any coach in the country would want to work with. 

And again, the club was criticised because they felt Pirates needed his experience more but they still managed to get through that phase and signed equally capable players after his departure. 

The same can be said about the likes of Thabo Matlaba and Mpho Makola who were at the heart of Pirates' rise in continental football - and the same fans that thought the management was wrong to let them go eventually made peace with the decision. 

Matlaba thought he was bigger than the club after he defied the management's decision to loan him out to Chippa United alongside Bernard Morrison. 

He, in fact, refused to join Chippa United and stayed at Pirates to see out his contract - and when that time arrived, the club didn't even think twice about letting him go because he was slowly becoming a bad influence to the rest of his teammates. 

So, if Lorch wants to go and he is no longer committed to serving the club then no one should stand in his way - he should be allowed to go and enjoy his football elsewhere. 

There was Pirates before him and there will be Pirates after he has left. Keeping him against his will when his heart is no longer there could be detrimental to the progress made by the club under Josef Zinnbauer. 

However, before taking drastic measures, Pirates should first find out the reasons behind his behaviour and decline in performance - and the player himself should be open enough to his employers rather talking about his feelings in the press because for every mistake he makes on the pitch, fans will be on his case.