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Will the Soweto derby bring out the best in Kaizer Chiefs’ Keegan Dolly?

Keegan Dolly celebrates goal with teammate Khama Billiat. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Keegan Dolly celebrates goal with teammate Khama Billiat. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Oct 31, 2021

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Johannesburg - Like the saying goes: “Form counts for nothing when it comes to the derby!” That’s why there’ll not be too much to read into Kaizer Chiefs’ purple patch when they cross paths with rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

After a turbulent start to the campaign, despite a host of quality signings, Chiefs appear to have found their mojo. They recently bagged seven points out of a possible nine and climbed into the top half of the DStv Premiership standings.

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That run has been inspired by marquee signing Keagan Dolly. The 28-year-old playmaker has been involved in Amakhosi’s five goals in the last two matches. He scored twice and assisted thrice, taking the pressure off Stuart Baxter.

The British-born coach will be eager to prove that the results were not a fluke, and instead a sign of bigger things to come. That view can be consolidated by a win over Pirates.

Chiefs’ goalkeeping department had a nervy start with all four goalkeepers getting to start. Incumbent Daniel Akpeyi has been solid so far. Credit should also go to Austin Dube and Sifiso Hlanti, two of the four new defenders.

Dube is slotting nicely alongside Eric Mathoho in the heart of defence. That has forced Njabulo Ngcobo, another new signing, to play as a defensive midfielder. The 27-year-old is yet to fit in like a glove in his new role. Ngcobo often finds himself out of position in the team.

Chiefs may be without a natural No. 9, with Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro nursing injuries, but Dolly, Khama Billiat and Bernard Parker have been exceptional.

Pirates have drawn their last four league games. Their start to the campaign was disrupted by the resignation of coach Josef Zinnbauer. Caretaker coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi have done little to steer the Sea Robbers’ ship to steady waters, despite progressing in African football.

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But ‘the Ghost’ are eager to see them among the chasing pack. That’s difficult because they are continuously losing players to the medical room. On Thursday, Happy Jele also became one of their casualties.

The Bucs skipper has been a breath of fresh air for his team. He’s been solid at the back and has chipped in with goals. But he’ll need his teammates to come to the fore, especially heading into a game like the derby on Saturday.

@MihlaliBaleka

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