Dolly opens up on life in France

Players Abroad

Dolly joined the Ligue One outfit at the end of the January transfer window, after a protracted transfer saga that almost saw the deal fall through at the last minute, and has opened up about his experience thus far.

The 24-year-old, who just returned to his club after the recent international break where he helped Bafana Bafana to a 3-1 win and a 0-0 draw in friendlies against Guinea-Bissau and Angola respectively, says the language barrier is his biggest obstacle at the moment but he has been taking French lessons.

"It's been okay so far. It's been very difficult to settle in – the first few weeks nobody spoke to me," said Dolly.

"I went to training, sat on my own, played with my phone and then went back to my apartment and prepared for the next day.

"I think it's the language barrier that is the problem right now [because] you hardly find people who speak English in France, but I have picked up a few words.

"I guess it's just for me to start learning the language and then everything will go smoothly. The team has organised some French lessons for me so every Monday I go to class."

With Bafana teammate Kermit Erasmus also based in France since leaving Orlando Pirates in January last year, Dolly has received some helpful advise on settling in and says luckily football is a universal language on the pitch.

"All he [Erasmus] told me was that I should focus on understanding the language more than talking it, so that's what I'm trying to do – pick up a few important words and hopefully things will get better," he added.

"But lucky for me football is one language so we don't really need to talk much on the field. I think with the few games I've played now, I've started figuring out how they play there."

Having made four starts and two substitute appearances thus far, the former Ajax Cape Town attacker feels there's still plenty of improvement needed as he adjusts to a different style of play abroad.

"There's still a lot of improvement for me, I'm not happy with the past few games, but it's just for me to get used to the way they play in Europe because it's a total different game to what I'm used to here in South Africa," explained the former Olympic captain.

"At times I play as a midfielder, sometimes as an out-and-out winger, but like I've said it's just for me to start understanding what the coach wants from me then I think things will be better."

Last season the diminutive winger managed nine goals and nine assists in all competitions with the Brazilians, as they went on to lift the CAF Champions League crown, thus placing more pressure on Dolly both from a media and fans' persepective.

"The media [in Montpellier] is saying that I've been playing games but I'm not scoring, and the fans here in South Africa are saying that if I don't score or assist then I will be benched," he joked.

"Obviously knowing that I scored a few goals last season, as an attacker, I want to score and create goals but it's a bit difficult in France, playing with the teammates I have, trying to understand them and them trying to understand me.

"You could see when I came home [for the national team], I started enjoying myself because I clicked with the guys, because they understand how I play. I play quick one-two's and there [in France] there's not much one-twos, it's direct football and I just need to get used to it."

Dolly will be looking to get the nod for their next league fixture against Toulouse on Sunday, as the club aims to move higher up the table from their current 15th position – just five points above the relegation zone.