Dolly may just try out a few Sotho swear words in Senegal
KEAGAN DOLLY has been playing like a man possessed, leaving defenders in a trance and making the ball speak in tongues in response to his magical touch. The 22-year-old has made a seamless transition from Ajax Cape Town to Mamelodi Sundowns where he has managed to be a standout player in a star-studded side.
“Going to the ( South African) Under-23s before joining up with Sundowns contributed to my form,” Dolly said. “Last season, I wasn’t in the best form, I didn’t really play in the second half of the season. I was a bit down, I lacked confidence. But when I came to the Under-23s I was playing and scoring goals. I kept that form going when I went to Sundowns.
“At Ajax I tended to relax more. There were times when I knew that I am going to play no matter what. I think that was my downfall. At Sundowns I know that there is lots of competition. I have to keep working hard every day.”
Dolly’s work- rate is what has impressed Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane to make him a regular starter. And it’s not something he has developed now, it has always been a part of his DNA as he strived to make it out of the hard-living suburb of Westbury.
He managed to do that through football, travelling to Germiston to the School of Excellence as a 12-year- old, and having his parents follow him to his matches.
“Even though we didn’t have a car growing up, they would travel by taxi just to watch me play,” Dolly said.
“That was a huge motivation. It meant a lot to see them at the stadium because most of the players at the school, no one came to watch them. I always work hard to make them happy.”
They will certainly be happy this Christmas, moving into a new house that Dolly has bought them. There could be a lot to celebrate for the Dollys during that time. Amaglugglug would have been back from Senegal by then with their fate of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics decided.
To achieve that, they have to negotiate past Senegal, Zambia and Tunisia to finish as one of the top three sides in the Africa U23 Cup of Nations.
Amaglug- glug will face Dolly’s team, Sundowns, in a practise match at Chloorkop today before coach Owen da Gama finalises his 21-man squad. Dolly will definitely be among those to travel to Senegal. The trip will also be an opportunity for him to stretch his linguistic skills – he is fluent in Afrikaans, English, isiZulu and seSotho.
“I started learning swear words in Sotho,” Dolly joked. “From there on I learnt about animals and other stuff.
“Throughout my journey I’ve learnt a lot,” he added. “I have seen a lot. That helped me a lot growing up, especially with me travelling away from home a lot and staying on my own. It made me to be able to stand up for myself even though at times I needed help from my mom and dad.
“Being on my own has taught me a lot, to fight for what I want because nothing was handed to me.”
HARD KNOCK LIFE: Keagan Dolly has come a long way from a tough upbringing in Westbury.