Having seemingly recovered from injuries that have hampered his progress in France over the last few seasons, Keagan Dolly is back in pre-season with Montpellier. One coach, who knows the former Mamelodi Sundowns player well, has revealed what the winger needs to do in the new campaign.
Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama, had the privilege of working with the Westbury-born star in the junior national teams. Dolly by his own admission, credits the experienced coach for giving him the necessary confidence to perform for both Downs and the national under-23 team.
It was also Da Gama who entrusted the 27-year-old with leading the nation at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro.
“The biggest thing I gave Keagan was freedom- which is a big word in South Africa, but with that freedom, I gave him responsibility. When we went to Rio, I made him the captain. I had Khune, Mathoho, Mobara, who were much more senior than him, but I gave him the responsibility because I saw leadership qualities in him, and I saw how he could single-handedly help the team.”
Having worked closely with the player, Da Gama has revealed why he often gave the former Ajax man time off from training, managing his workload closely.
“I also made sure he was well taken care of from a physical perspective. A lot of people don’t understand that explosive players like Michael Owen, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Keagan Dolly, cannot be trained like everybody else. Because they’ve got a lot of red muscle fibre, as compared to marathon players. Their muscles are not as strong as marathon players,” Da Gama explained.
The former Orlando Pirates mentor has also revealed what the Bafana attacker needs to do differently this season, as he looks to take Ligue 1 by storm.
“Once you recover from an injury, don’t just say "I’ve recovered and now I’m okay". Keep working on that muscle because you’re more susceptible to getting an injury where you’ve had an injury before. Unless it’s a contact injury where he was kicked or someone stepped on his foot. However, for an injury like his, his rehab must become second nature, apart from the training that he does with the team, he must continue with his rehab. That’s with regards to his injuries.
“Secondly, when it comes to his game, he must just understand that he has gone to a very high level of playing football and he must just apply himself. He must work harder than last year and double his efforts. Whether it’s with the team or by himself, he needs to make sure that he’s constantly working on his rehab,” Da Gama concluded.