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Kaizer Chiefs star Keagan Dolly looking forward to returning to France with Bafana

Kaizer Chiefs’ attacker Keagan Dolly in action during a DStv Premiership match against Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg last November

FILE - Kaizer Chiefs’ attacker Keagan Dolly in action during a DStv Premiership match against Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg last November. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Published Mar 16, 2022

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Johannesburg — Keagan Dolly didn’t expect to go back to France so soon. However, he's keen on helping his Bafana Bafana teammates navigate their way past the world champions France, when the two nations meet in an international friendly later this month.

Dolly spent four years in France, plying his trade for Ligue 1 outfit Montpellier. But his stint wasn’t all cosy as he was side-lined at most due to injuries and form. However, he matured as a footballer and person despite the challenging conditions.

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Dolly heeded the call to come back home when his contract came to an end last season, joining childhood club Kaizer Chiefs. His start to life at Chiefs was slow, considering that he had weight issues while not everyone approved his return.

But with tenacity, backing from coach Stuart Baxter and reunion with Khama Billiat, he rediscovered his mojo. That feat saw him return to the Bafana set-up for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, where they beat Zimbabwe and lost to Ghana.

The loss to Ghana ensured that Bafana couldn't progress to the play-offs of the qualifiers as they finished second. But with the international break next week, they will play two friendlies against Guinea and France in Belgium and Lille.

Dolly will be of interest to the French national team as he might have played with or against some of their players. But the Chiefs' ace has diverted the attention away from him, insisting that his focus is to help his teammates get a win.

“I didn’t expect to go back to France so soon,” he told Chiefs’ media. “But it is good memories; going back to see the stadiums that I played in. Perhaps 'll get to see the people that I know from France. So, it will be good to be back in France.

“But just to get to share my experiences with the boys (is amazing). It’s a new team, we are going to be playing one of the top teams in the world, France. They’ve got good players who are playing in the highest leagues around the world."

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But before Dolly can start thinking about his return to France, he will have to focus on helping Chiefs get past Golden Arrows in the league on Saturday night. Amakhosi are third on the log and one point behind runners-up Royal AM.

Chiefs have three games in hand compared to Royal AM. But there are no guarantees that they’ll be able to play all the games. They have an arbitration case after they forfeited two matches due to the outbreak of Covid-19 at their base.

So, with the outcomes of that arbitration case still up in the air, they'll have to collect as many points as they can so far. But that won’t be easy given that Arrows are also looking for points in order to move away from the bottom-half of the log.

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“I think it’s going to be another tough game. I don’t think there are any easier games now in the PSL, especially without the fans,” Dolly said ahead of the tie at FNB Stadium. “Anywhere you play, it feels like home. There is no pressure now.

“The 'so-called smaller teams' do not feel pressure because if they come to the FNB, it’s empty as well. But I think we’ve been doing well in the past few games. So, this is another one where we need to focus and concentrate on as well.”

@Mihlalibaleka

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