Dolly may just try out a few Sotho swear words in Sene­gal

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - NJABULO NGIDI

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.”

BACKPAGEPIX

HARD KNOCK LIFE: Kea­gan Dolly has come a long way from a tough up­bring­ing in Westbury.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.