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Mamelodi Sundowns' Zungu and Kaizer Chiefs star Dolly didn't fail in Europe, insists Bafana Bafana midfielder Phiri

10:30 GMT+4 03/12/2022
Keagan Dolly Paseka Mako Soweto derby 2022
Paris FC midfielder Lebogang Phiri strongly believes his Bafana Bafana teammates Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly didn't fail in Europe.
  • Zungu spent six years in Europe
  • While Dolly had a four-and-a-half stint with Montpellier
  • Phiri has never played in PSL having left SA as a teenager

WHAT HAPPENED? Zungu and Dolly returned home after parting ways with French clubs Amiens and Montpellier, respectively, and there are those who feel that the duo failed in Europe hence they came back home.
Dolly was snapped up by Kaizer Chiefs on a free transfer in July 2021, while Zungu rejoined Mamelodi Sundowns in September this year after deciding against extending his contract with Amiens.
Phiri left South Africa as a teenager for Danish outfit Brondby in 2013 and he has since had stints with French side Guingamp and Turkish club Caykur Rizespor.
The 28-year-old, who is on loan at Ligue 2 side Paris from Rizespor, argued that Zungu and Dolly fulfilled their ambitions in Europe hence they decided to come back to the PSL.

WHAT DID PHIRI SAY?: "Honestly speaking, I think it tells from the individual. Bongz and Keagz, of course, got the opportunity to play in South Africa – they know the lifestyle there and they know the football, as well as the ins and outs in terms of the PSL," Phiri told SABCSport.

"And I think, for the amount of years they spent in Europe and get to make the decision of going back home, it's not a matter of them having failed because they had done what they needed to do. They feel that they accomplished whatever their dreams were.

"They're my friends, I've always supported them – more especially Bongani, because we're so close and a lot of decisions he's made throughout his career in Europe, I think I might have played a small part in it because I gave him a little advice that I had.

"Having played for so long and having started [professionally] here. So, when he came to me and told me about all the offers he had throughout the whole world, actually, and still made the decision to go back home, I trust and believe that's the best decision he wanted to make for him and his family, and I respect that."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Dolly struggled with injuries during his spell with Montpellier, but he was a regular in the team whenever he was fit - making 56 appearances in Ligue 1 and scored once.
Since returning to Chiefs, the former Ajax Cape Town winger has blown hot and cold, but he is a key player under coach Arthur Zwane and the club's vice-captain.
While Zungu has had to work on his match fitness at Sundowns having missed pre-season as the lanky midfielder took his time to assess his offers before deciding to come back home.
Zungu, who had spells with Scotland's Rangers and Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal, has made just three competitive appearances for Masandawana under coach Rhulani Mokwena who is a big fan of the 30-year-old player.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR SUNDOWNS AND CHIEFS? The two local giants resumed training this week with the PSL set to resume on the last weekend of this month.
Zungu and Sundowns' teammates will face Orlando Pirates on December 30, while Dolly's Chiefs take on Golden Arrows on December 31.