Ambitious Dolly now turns his attention to the Rio Olympic Games

28 July 2016 - 14:32 By Mark Gleeson


Keegan Dolly took a morning plane on Thursday from OR Tambo International to Sao Paulo in excited mood as participation in this year's Olympic Games follows fast on the heels of Mamelodi Sundowns reaching the semifinals of the African Champions League. Some 12 hours after helping Sundowns into the last four with victory over Egyptian giants Zamalek‚ Dolly is headed to join up with the national under-23 side where he will captain the team at the Rio Games.They are in Brasilia where they begin the men’s football tournament at the Olympics with a clash against the Brazilian hosts.He will fly to the Brazilian capital after a brief lay-over in Sao Paulo.“I’m really excited‚ I’ve missed out quite a few camps with the under-23s and I feel like I’m quite behind with the preparations. But I’m excited to join the team now with a few more days to go before the tournament starts. I can’t wait to rub shoulders with Neymar!” Thoughts of a medal‚ however‚ are not yet on the agenda.“For us it is to play the first game against Brazil and try to overcome that and take each game as it comes. We shouldn’t be thinking of winning a medal just yet. I think our first task must just be to qualify out of the group stages.”Dolly departed still walking on air after Sundowns’ 1-0 win over Zamalek in Atteridgeevlle on Wednesday night.“We are really proud of ourselves‚ thinking back to when we were eliminated from the tournament and now we are in the semifinal. Credit must go to my teammates for all the hard work we have been putting in and for me now it is focus on the Olympics. It is all the confidence I need going to the Olympics knowing that we have qualified for the semifinals.“We always told ourselves that in each and every competition we take part in‚ we want to dominate. Winning away‚ winning at home. We should also thank our supporters who came out in numbers.”Asked what had changed for Sundowns since their elimination from the African Confederation Cup by Medeama of Ghana in May‚ Dolly explained that the tactics had switched away from a focus on the opponents to Sundowns’ own ability.“We are focused now on enjoying ourselves. We keep the ball‚ we don’t sit back‚ we don’t respect our opponents. We really go at them and just have fun and things have been working out for us.”Sundowns edged past Zamalek with Al Gabr’s 79th minute own goal to keep up a 100 percent record in Group B and are confirmed as group winners‚ even with a match to go in Nigeria next month.“Sometimes you need luck‚ but I think we also create our own luck with all the good performances we have put up throughout the season. At times we’ve also been unlucky‚ we didn’t score goals. Against Zamalek luck was on our side … even being back in the tournament and another team being eliminated means it also had to happen that we got through to the semifinals.“But we take each game as it comes. We focus more on the process rather than the end product. We still have to take on Enyimba and then we’ll focus on the semifinal and once we qualify we’ll start focusing on the final.“People used to say north Africans were impossible to beat but we went there and played good football. It started in Algeria. We are showing people in Africa that we really want to dominate and that football in South Africa is growing. I’m just happy to be part of that movement and a Sundowns player‚” he added. - TMG Digital

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