With just one day left to go until the Champions Challenge and the chance for South African hockey to qualify for the Olympic games, All Things Jabu spoke to the third of our four SA players that we are speaking to. Having spoken to his Pinoke team mate and roommate, Justin Reid-Ross, we got the chance to speak to Lloyd Madsen.
Having made his debut in 2007, the defender has gone on to accumulate 44 caps so far. The KZN Raiders player has played at the World Cup as well as in the Commonwealth games and will be hoping to add the Olympics to his already prestigious list.
All Things Jabu (ATJ): Lloyd thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us! How is your preparation going for the Champions Challenge?
Lloyd Madsen (LM): It’s an absolute pleasure. The preparation has gone as well as it could have. We haven’t been together much as a team over the last 3 months but everyone in the team has been working extremely hard and this is definitely the most confident I have ever been going into a tournament with the South African side. More than half of our team have been playing hockey in European leagues over the past few months and have gained valuable experience over there. We also managed to get together twice as a squad over in Europe to play two practice games in preparation for Champs Challenge. Like I mentioned, the local guys have been training hard back in SA and this past week has been awesome being re-united with the whole squad and preparing for the tournament which lies ahead.
LM: I absolutely love Amsterdam and everything about it. The whole hockey culture in The Netherlands is something very special and I would definitely recommend that for any player who wants to achieve something in hockey, The Netherlands is definitely a fantastic place to play hockey where you would learn a lot. Amsterdam is also an amazing place to live in and compared to South Africa, the living environment is totally different. I love Amsterdam as well as South Africa.
ATJ: Does it make it slightly easier being in the same team as Justin Reid-Ross?
LM: Off the field, it definitely helps having another Saffa with me in Amsterdam. We live together over there and apart from his shopping for clothes addiction; we both share similar interests which helps a lot. On the field, it’s great playing alongside him and we both know each other’s games really well which makes life easier for us whilst playing and if he continues to score goals from penalty corners at the rate he’s been doing, it will sure help out any team a lot.
ATJ: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
LM: Scoring my first international goal against Belgium with just 10 seconds left on the clock to win 4-3, is something that I will never forget. Going to both the Commonwealth Games and World Cup in Delhi were both great experiences which will live in the memory bank for a long time. I will also never forget my debut for South Africa when we beat the world champions Germany, 5-3 in Johannesburg.
ATJ: How was the African Qualifiers for you and the team?
LM: It was a great tour for us and we definitely gained valuable experience as a team, albeit we weren’t playing against the best opposition, apart from obviously Egypt. To play against Egypt in the final is never easy. There is so much at stake for both teams wanting to qualify for the Olympics and we were just delighted with the outcome of winning gold and achieving our goals.
ATJ: Is there any frustration in the team that although we have qualified by FIH rulings we need to still qualify for the Olympics?
LM: Their definitely is frustration, but we have managed to channel that frustration into being even more determined to be successful at the Champs Challenge. Unfortunately we don’t decide on all the technicalities of qualifying for the Olympics, so it’s an uncontrollable for us. SASCOC have stated the requirements that must be met from us as a team and now we have to go out there and achieve them, something which we are more than capable of doing.
LM: The Olympic Games in London has been a dream of mine ever since I made my debut for South Africa in 2007. I would love to achieve that and more. I don’t want to just compete in the Olympics, I want to go to London and be as successful as possible with the South African team!
ATJ: As a professional sportsperson growing up in sports mad South Africa, who was your sporting role model growing up?
LM: Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes are two guys who I looked up to a lot and had loads of respect for. More recently, Roger Federer has been someone whom I really admire for the way in which he conducts himself both on and of the tennis court.
ATJ: What about other sport, what other sport are you into?
LM: I played a lot of cricket at a relatively high level when i was a bit younger. It was really hard to juggle both hockey and cricket at the same time and eventually a couple years after i finished school, I chose hockey. I also love golf and manage to play off a 5 handicap. I try and play as much tennis and squash as possible, I find it helps in staying fit and are both enjoyable.
ATJ: And who do you support?
LM: The Proteas, The Springboks, Liverpool FC and all our SA sportsmen. I also support every team that plays against Manchester United!
ATJ: Where can our readers see and hear more about you?
LM: I play all more hockey for a club side called Pinoké in Amsterdam, so they would have to visit the hockey websites over there to see how well my team is doing. (www.hoofdklassehockey.nl or www.hockey.nl ) They can also follow me on twitter: @Lloyd_Madsen
ATJ: Do you have any ambitions on coaching once your playing career is over?
LM: I’m not quite sure at the moment. I do enjoy the tactical side of the game and I enjoy the coaching that I currently do for various youth teams but, I haven’t given it much thought yet.
ATJ: And who is the best coach you have played for?
LM: I have been very fortunate to be coached by Giles Bonnet (ATJ: Current SA Women’s Hockey coach) over in Holland. He’s taught me an incredible amount over the last couple years and he has a special way with players and getting the best out of them. It is quite hard to describe how good he is unless you have been coached by him.
ATJ: Thanks Lloyd. Good luck for the Champions Challenge!
LM: Thanks very much