Can the real Keagan Dolly please stand up for Kaizer Chiefs in Soweto derby?

Orlando Pirates' Bandile Shandu fights for the ball with Kaizer Chiefs' Keagan Dolly during their DStv Premiership clash last November

FILE - Orlando Pirates' Bandile Shandu fights for the ball with Kaizer Chiefs' Keagan Dolly during their DStv Premiership clash last November. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Mar 8, 2024


Keagan Dolly’s startling dip in form has been one of the root causes of Kaizer Chiefs’ struggles this season, but Saturday’s Soweto derby at the FNB Stadium (3.30pm kick-off) will offer him a career lifeline as his lucrative contract will expire at the end of the season.

During their midweek match, Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson hauled Dolly off in the second half of their match against Golden Arrows and replaced him with Nkosingiphile Ngcobo. He was involved in the team’s attacks, but was ineffective.

It might be that Dolly is not being used in a way that brings out the best in him, but since his arrival from French outfit Montpellier in 2021, he has not done justice to his status as a marquee signing.

On Saturday, on South African football’s biggest stage, he has a chance to bolster his worth against traditional rivals Orlando Pirates.

An impressive performance could be of great benefit to Dolly on two fronts.

He is into the last six months of his contract, and is within his rights to sign a pre-contract with another club. He could also strengthen his claims for a contract extension.

However, for now, Dolly is more concerned about the team’s Soweto derby fate rather than his career prospects. The wing-attacker recently turned 31 and still offers a lot of value to the team, given his technical ability. For the past two seasons, he has been hampered by injuries, which was at the heart of his inconsistent form.

“This particular Soweto derby will be different. Both teams want to win, they want the points so that they can climb the log higher,” said Dolly at yesterday’s pre-match presser. “For us here at Kaizer Chiefs, we want to continue our streak. We want to continue the way we have been defending by not conceding many goals. The most important thing for us is to get all three points.”

It is known that Chiefs have not had contract talks with Dolly, who last found the back of the net 10 months ago against Stellenbosch FC.

“An important thing will be for us to convert the scoring chances we create,” said Dolly. “We must remain focused on our journey in the league and aim to finish as high as possible.

“We want to be playing in the (CAF) Champions League, so it is not only this weekend’s game, but it goes for all the remaining games that (we have to) win every game. Then we will see where we end on the log. We lost the last derby, but we will go out there on Saturday and compete. We must not focus on Pirates and what happened in the past.”

Dolly could be a central figure in the latest version of the Soweto derby. The record shows that over the past four seasons, the strikers have been the star performers. Don’t be surprised if Dolly rises to the occasion.

IOL Sport