Johannesburg — Growing up as a staunch Kaizer Chiefs supporter, Keagan Dolly had always dreamt about playing in front of a sold-out crowd in the Soweto derby.
Dolly joined Chiefs last season, inspiring his team to back-to-back wins over their sworn enemies Orlando Pirates, where he racked up two goals.
But those two matches didn’t have a feel of the derby, given that they were played behind closed doors due to Covid-19.
However, all that will change on Saturday afternoon, with the two sides set to welcome back their staunch supporters at the sold-out FNB Stadium.
Kaizer Chiefs player Keagan Dolly says playing in the Soweto derby won’t be a problem for his side, as there’s always pressure on the ‘Glamour Boys’ to produce the results for their fans.
October 28, 2022 “Everyone is excited, but nervous as well. It’s a big occasion for most of us. Most of us haven’t played in a crowd like this before,” Dolly said.
“But we don’t have to think too much of the occasion. At the end of the day, it’s a football game between two teams. And we have a job to do.”
Ahead of realising his childhood dream, the 29-year-old attacker has the huge responsibility of uplifting his teammates after an inconsistent run of form.
Before this 176th edition of the derby, Chiefs had most wins in the head-to-head stats. But they are now underdogs after a three-game winless run.
That streak also meant that they exited the MTN8 after losing on the away goal rule to AmaZulu following the 1-1 aggregate score in the semi-final.
And that feat has put the pressure on Arthur Zwane to guide his troops to a win in the derby, which will be their last game of the first half of the term.
But with Zwane only expected to bark instructions on the side-lines, the pressure will be on Dolly and Co to ensure they come out tops.
Dolly is set to lead his side amid Itumeleng Khune’s injury this afternoon, and he’s confident they can revive their winning spirit within the team.
“We know in the past that things didn’t go the way we wanted them to. And we are not only looking to make the supporters happy,” Dolly said.
“We want to make ourselves, the chairman and the club happy. And that starts with us as players. We know what we want to do as the players.
“We want to win each and every game. This game is important and we want to win it. We conceded silly mistakes before, and we are to be blamed.”
Despite conceding from silly mistakes defensively, Chiefs haven’t taken their chances up front – especially in the games that they went on to draw or lose.
Dolly could be slightly exempted from that feat given that his set-piece has been crucial. But not the same can be said for his mate, Khama Billiat.
Billiat was side-lined for sometime after sustaining an injury. But even upon his return, he hasn’t been clinical up front, to the ire of their fans.
“Khama has been in the game for a long time. He’s experienced, and that will come handy on days like these where [he is] struggling to score goals,” Dolly said.