Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Kaizer Chiefs’ Keagan Dolly – I don’t think we are safe any more

'Hopefully the government and people leading the country can wake up and see this,' said the Chiefs attacking midfielder.

Kaizer Chiefs’ Keagan Dolly believes gun violence is out of control in South Africa, and has called on the country’s leaders to do something about the situation.

Dolly was a teammate and good friend of Luke Fleurs, the Amakhosi defender who was shot and killed in a hijacking in Johannesburg on April 3.

The 31 year old grew up in Westbury, a disadvantaged suburb of Johannesburg known for gang violence, while Fleurs came from Mitchell’s Plain, one of the most violent and underprivileged parts of Cape Town.

“I don’t think we are safe any more,” said Dolly this week at Fleurs’ memorial, held at FNB Stadium.

“There are times you can’t leave the house, there are places you can’t drive into at any time of day. It is sad, hopefully the government and people leading the country can wake up and see this. It is not just a problem for footballers.

“In Westbury each and every week they are burying young boys because of gun violence. We grew up in these communities, and witnessed these things and worked hard to get ourselves out of these situations and help our families.

“Then to lose a player like Luke at 24 years-old, to see him coming from Mitchells Plain, it is not easy (to get out) and then to lose him to criminality, this is an issue for the whole country. Hopefully our leaders can open their eyes.”

‘We grew close’

Dolly became close to Fleurs after the defender arrived at Chiefs in October.

“Luke’s passing has been tough for me … in the few months since he signed we grew close,” said Dolly.

“We shared a room in camp when he made the team. We would share stories, it has really hit home.

“I have been trying to stay strong to be there for the family, to meet his mum, his sister, his dad and his brother and learn from them what Luke was like growing up.

“We sat at the same table for breakfast and lunch, when you go to morning training you (still) expect luke to be there, to tell us stories of what happened the previous day, it made training a bit lighter. He was always making jokes but when it came to training he took his job seriously.”

Dolly added that Chiefs’ players decided to train in the week of Fleurs’ passing, and play against Chippa United in a DStv Premiership clash in East London, in order to honour their friend.

“Obviously it was a difficult decision, but mostly the players wanted to honour him, knowing he was the only players in the current squad who didn’t get a chance to make his debut.”

Chiefs Sporting Director Kaizer Motaung Jnr confirmed on Thursday at Fleurs’ memorial that the 24 year-old was definitely going to be in the starting line-up against Chippa, adding an extra sense of tragedy to the week’s events.

“We felt it was appropriate to go and play for his honour, and fight for him for the rest of the games for the remainder of the season and for the seasons to come. We are lucky to be alive and to go to the Village and train every day, so we took it upon ourselves to fight for him.”

Chiefs have also announced the decision to retire Luke Fleurs’ jersey number 26 in the defender’s memory.