There’s been an increase in the number of football stars accused of assault. It’s unfortunate because footballers are some of the most revered people globally. While you may have heard cases in European football, some African footballers are accused of similar problems.
One such player is South African footballer Thembinkosi Lorch, who’s waiting for a verdict on his case. Let’s unpack what happened.
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In September 2020, the ex-girlfriend of Thembinkosi Lorch Fundiswa Mathithibala filed a sexual assault case against the footballer. She alleged that the footballer turned violent after she enquired about his whereabouts.
Fundiswa visited him in his home only for him to go out with friends. However, she claims that he physically hit and strangled her. Lorch was arrested in September 2020 but released on bail.
In 2021, the case was provisionally withdrawn to allow further investigations. The case resumed, and the state prosecutor argued that medical evidence showed that Fundiswa was telling the truth. Additionally, the fact that Thembinkosi Lorch didn’t have any bruises was evidence he was the aggressor.
After cross-examinations, a Randburg magistrate court found Thembinkosi Lorch guilty of physical assault with the intention of causing harm by strangling and hitting her.
Initially, the player’s sentencing was scheduled for 28 July 2023, but his team asked for a postponement. The matter was expected to be concluded in October, but it was moved again.
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Orlando Pirates’ Statement
Today, brands and companies have to declare their position about such matters involving their employees or partners. In a statement, Orlando Pirates said they’ll wait for the courts to decide before deciding on Thembinkosi Lorch’s future at the club.
Meanwhile, the club conducted its internal investigation and said the player ‘pleaded guilty’ to the accusations. He was fined and sent to anger management classes. Additionally, the club asked Lorch to provide them with the details of his conviction and sentencing.
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Does Thembinkosi Lorch Still Have a Chance to Play?
Reports indicate that the midfielder signed a new three-year contract with Orlando Pirates in August 2023 despite his ongoing court case. That said, Lorch is yet to make an appearance for the club due to injuries.
Lorch began his career at Katlehong and later moved to Maluti FET College. During his time at the club, Lorch played for Cape Town All Stars and Chippa United on loan. He then joined Orlando Pirates and has been at the club since 2015. He’s made 93 appearances and scored 51 goals.
Lorch enjoyed success at the club. He’s won the Nedbank Cup, Carling Black Label Cup and the MTN 8. Individually, Lorch’s won the PSL Player’s Player of the Season and PSL Footballer of the Season 2019.
At the international level, Lorch has played for South Africa seven times.
Regardless of the success Thembinkosi Lorch has achieved, his reputation is tarnished. Gender-based violence is a crisis in South Africa and people are closely following this case to see how his sentencing will be handled.
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