You may remember recently that we had Rhett Halkett writing for us with an inside view from the SA Hockey Mens camp. Another thing Rhett did for us was organise an opportunity for us to chat to Margot van Geffen. The defensive wall is part of the all-conquering Netherlands side that won the Gold medal at the London Olympics and the Gold Medal at the 2014 FIH Hockey World Cup that was staged in her home country. We chatted to Margot about all things hockey.
Jabu: HI Margot. Is winning the World Cup the best thing that has happened in your career?
Margot: Well it is definitely one of the best things that has happened in my career. I can tell you that it was the most impressive crowd I have ever played in front of. It was unbelievable to have a whole stadium full of people in Orange shouting, cheering and doing the slow-motion Mexican wave. The coolest thing was that the Dutch supporters were also cheering for other countries when we weren’t playing, that’s amazing. I’m getting goosebumps now as I’m talking about it to you.
Margot: I think the Dutch people are pretty crazy when it comes to supporting, no matter what sport. Hockey is a popular sport in Holland. Lots of people, especially children, come to watch their favorite club play during the regular season and the crowd is even bigger during the play-offs. The World Cup, however, was another level of craziness. I think the reason for that was the proximity for the fans this time. Children wanted to see their idols play and take a picture with them. This was a great opportunity for that.
Jabu: We believe that Louis van Gaal had two hockey coaches on his squad, what value could a hockey coach bring to football?
Margot: In hockey we have been working with video analyses for quite a while now. That can be of great value for football. One of the video analysts from Den Bosch is working for a soccer club now. Hockey coaches can also helpful for playmaking and the tactics. Positioning is very important in both hockey and football.
Margot: I think this is because we have the opportunity to train a lot together. We live in a small country, we can easily drive to a hotel, stay for a while and train together. We also have some great sponsors that make it all happen. We stay in a hotel every Monday so we have two days of training with the Dutch team. Being able to spend so many hours together, on the field and off the field, allows us to get to know each other quite well. I believe that gives us an advantage compared to a lot of other countries.
Jabu: You have won the World Cup gold medal and the Olympics gold medal, how do these compare?
Margot: It’s hard to compare, both medals are amazing. I could only dream of it a few years ago. I think winning the world cup in front of your home crowd is something unique, but so is winning the Olympic Games. The only thing that could top those two medals would be winning the Olympics in Holland!
Jabu: Who is the best player you have ever played with?
Margot: That’s a very hard one. I have to name a few players; Maartje Paumen, Eva de Goede, Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel, actually I want to name my whole team!
Margot: A lot of teams are difficult to play because of the tactics they deploy against us. They play on the counter, which means they put up a wall of players around the D. That makes it very hard for us to score a goal and we have to be careful not to make a mistake in our ball possession. That being said, I think the toughest opponent is Argentina. They have very skilled players and they play very offensive.
Jabu: What is the biggest goal for you to still achieve?
Margot: I want to go for the double, if my body can handle a few more years. So let’s start with the Champions trophy at the end of November and in August the European cup after that the Olympic Games in Rio. Then ending with the World Cup in London 2018. Saying it out loud makes it feel like a lot!
Margot: Well they are much more polite and patient then the Dutch. I think, because of that, they are able to put up with me and my craziness a lot better! <Laughs> No just kidding. I met Rhett Halkett a few years ago when we both played for Den Bosch. Then decided to go to Cape Town for the holidays and I met a lot of his friends and their families. They were all so kind and made me feel very welcome, Cape Town almost feels like a second home now. And because of hockey I get to see them occasionally at tournaments. It’s always a lot of fun to see those cool kids again and hang out with them.
Jabu: What other sports do you like to support and who do you support?
Margot: I like to watch football from time to time. I went to Camp Nou to see Barcelona play, which was awesome. I like tennis a lot and would love to go to a grand slam sometime.
Jabu: Where can our readers follow you to stay up to date?