Keagan Dolly is currently the poster boy of South African football since moving abroad.
The 24-year-old’s long awaited move to Montpellier was drawn out and filled with controversy. Now that the dust has settled, Dolly has been able to concentrate on what he does best and that is playing football.
His arrival in the South of France came at a time when La Paillade was struggling in French Ligue 1. He has had to wait for his chance as a new coach in Frenchman Jean-Louis Gesset was roped in to stop the rut. The playmaker would eventually make his debut against Monaco but could do little as they were defeated by their more illustrious opponents 2-1.
He has now played four games for the former Ligue 1 champions. Dolly has started three out of the four appearances for the French side and has accumulated a total 194 minutes of playing time. Montpellier have won two and lost two games, and they're currently sitting in 13th place.
Dolly has, however, had a relatively quiet start to his European adventure. This could be down to the fact that he is still slowly adapting to life in France. According to Opta, in the attackers first four matches he has made a contribution of 58 successful passes out of a total of 82, giving him a pass completion rate of over 70 percent.
A worrying stat though, is the fact that Dolly has only managed one shot on target in his four games and has a shooting accuracy of 50 percent. He has struggled to influence play, only creating two chances from open play and contributing zero assists. The midfielder has also only had three touches in the opposition box.
Under the tutelage of Pitso Mosimane at Mamelodi Sundowns, Dolly was a constant provider for the forwards. At times the South African international displayed telepathic understanding with his teammates, most notably Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat.
Montpellier will surely be counting on him to find his feet and build up the same relationship with teammates such as Steve Mounie but it will take time.
Nevertheless, a standout feature of Dolly’s game so far has been his defending. This could be an indictment on Montpellier’s poor form this season which has seen them go under the cosh quite regularly, most recently in their 2-1 loss to Nice. Although, Dolly only entered the fray in the 88th minute against the Eaglets, Dolly won six duels as well as conceded only two fouls, making 12 recoveries in the process.
It may be early days in the talented footballer’s career abroad and while he has realised his dream of playing in Europe, there is still a lot of work to be done.