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Montpellier's Keagan Dolly wants to stay in Europe and fight for a place

Montpellier's South African forward Keagan Dolly (R) in action for his Lique1 side against Nantes.
Montpellier's South African forward Keagan Dolly (R) in action for his Lique1 side against Nantes.

Keagan Dolly says he has set his mind on staying and succeeding in Europe despite an injury-ravaged period in his career that has derailed his chances of game time at Montpellier.

Dolly said he wants to set an example to young players in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) with aspirations of playing in Europe that coming home when the going gets tough is not necessarily the solution.

Bafana Bafana left midfielder Dolly had a promising first season in Ligue 1 when he moved from Mamelodi Sundowns to Montpellier in January 2017‚ with 22 league and cup appearances.

A string of debilitating injuries since‚ including breaking his leg in September 2018‚ have seen the player manage just 10 first team appearances since.

“Seeing people like [Belgian-based] Percy Tau doing well in the Champions League‚ seeing Bongani [Zungu‚ of Amiens SC] doing well against the likes of PSG‚ and Lebo Phiri scoring goals and captaining Guingamp just motivates me to work even harder to reach that level‚” Dolly told an online press conference of the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).

“With me always talking about my injuries it seems like I’m always making excuses. But the main reason why I’m still here and working hard is because of the support structure I have – my family‚ my agent [Paul Mitchell]‚ my fiancée [Tara Graham] who’s here with me in France.

“They remind me that I’m good enough‚ and that this is something that I’ve always wanted.

“With the likes of Teboho Mokoena and the other youngsters who are doing well in the PSL‚ it’s just for me to work hard enough and show that if you persevere‚ and if you set your mind to it‚ things can go well.

“So that’s where I am at now. I want to stay this side‚ and I’m not thinking of coming home any time soon.”

Dolly was asked what he has to do to convince Montpellier to give him a new contract when it expires in June 2021.

“I think firstly stay fit‚” he said. “Stay injury-free‚ have a good preseason‚ and definitely try to play more games and obviously score more goals.

“I think I’ve been lacking that. I haven’t created a lot of opportunities when I started in the past.

“I’ve been working on that. I’ve been doing finishing on my own‚ trying to get into the box as much as I could.

“And look‚ if it’s meant for me to stay here in Montpellier I’ll be happy to. And if not we’re happy to look elsewhere just to get a place where I can play and just enjoy myself.”

Dolly won the 2016 Caf Champions League with Sundowns.