"Well, hello Dolly" is how immortalised singer
Louis Armstrong may have crooned the belated arrival of 22-year-old prodigy
Keagan Dolly at Mamelodi Sundowns, a year after his transfer from Ajax Cape Town
reason, Dolly spent an extra season at his erstwhile Cape Town club after it became known he would be heading to
And in his first official tournament appearance for The
Brazilians in a first-round MTN8 match this week, the prodigy from
Johannesburg's stark Westbury environment displayed signs of his exciting
potential in spite of Sundowns going down to a shock, inexplicable penalty
shootout defeat against nemesis club, Bloemfontein Celtic.
But in spite of this, Dolly's inventive influence was not
sufficient to negotiate Sundowns into a semi-final berth - and so the question
remains as to whether he can rid The Brazilians of the curious, unexplained
malaise that has earned for billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe's club the
frustrating reputation of under-achievers.
Look at it this way. Sundowns are not only recognised as
the wealthiest soccer club in South Africa as mining magnate Motsepe's hobby
horse, but their facilities are second to none, their wealth has bought what
might be termed an excess of players and their preparation for the coming
season was methodical and second to none, with training camps and a series of
friendlies in neighbouring countries.
They could not have done a better job in this respect.
Yet instead of romping away from the rest of the PSL field as their apparent
advantages might suggest, they were unable to stamp their superiority over
Celtic and suspicions remain that the undetected flaw in their make-up still
It is unlikely that one player alone will banish the
problem, not even one with the talent of the budding Dolly.
As for Dolly, he undoubtedly has the credentials to be a
major influence at Sundowns. But some of the excessive praise already heaped on
him by those you would expect would know better about the South African Under-23 player, can only place an additional, unnecessary burden on his
For example, did someone in high SAFA places really say
he could walk into the famed Barcelona team at this point of his development?
Excessive as that might be, Dolly's rare soccer instinct,
free-kick from 25-metres that thundered against the crossbar, pin-point passing
and ability to know where the ball should go and when, provided moments of
magic against Celtic.
It is hoped his contribution continues to flourish at
Sundowns - instead of having an adverse effect in the way the club's vaunted
environment has back-fired on more than one gifted player who has ventured into
the Chloorkop club's glittering citadel.