Darren Keet Interview

Full Name: Darren Keet
Date of Birth: 5th August 1989
Age: 25
Height: 1.83m (6ft)
Place of Birth: Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality: South African
Current Club: KV Kortrijk (Belgian Pro League)
Goalkeeper Gloves: Sells

Having started your career in South Africa and moved to the Belgium league what differences are there between the two?
South Africa is very relaxed, with oceans and big gardens and nice weather, where Belgium is more closed, city living and apartment living, and the weather is not so great. But they both have good things and bad things.

Where do you see KV Kortrijk finishing this year and did you have any pre-season aims as a club and individual for where you want to finish?
Well we have a new coach and the aim of the club was to make sure we finish mid table, but the coach who has played in World Cups and won championships is someone who has high ambitions and his goal was to make it to play off 1 which we have achieved. But for me, I have said since the beginning of the season that I think we have a team who can finish 4th and make it to European competition, and so far we are 5th.

Do you see yourself staying with KV Kortrijk over the next few seasons?
I do see myself staying here as long as they want me to stay, however football is another work and sometimes things change within a few days.

What football club do you support?
Manchester United

Away from the football pitch and training ground what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy playing golf or tennis and now I spend a lot of time with my new born baby.

How old were you when you first started playing football and did you always want to be a goalkeeper?
I was 5 years old, and I started playing in the field, but then they started playing me goalkeeper because my father and my oldest brother were goalkeepers.

Where and when did you get your big break?
I played in the South African 3rd devision for Vasco Da Gama for 1 season in 2007/08, and then moved to Bidvest Wits from 2008 – 2011.

Did you face any obstacles along the way, ever think you weren’t going to make it to where you are now and if so how did you get past the obstacles?DKeet
When I was 11, I was playing for Ajax Cape Town, and there was a keeper called Calvin Marlin playing for the First team. I saw him play and I met him and that’s when I decided I wanted become a professional footballer and play for my country. Since that moment, nothing was going to stop me.

Who was your biggest influence growing up?
My biggest influence was my father. He used to support every decision I made towards sports. I played 8 different sports growing up and he allowed me to do all of them without saying whats best for me and let me decide for myself. Everyone used to say how good he was and I wanted to be better than him.

How do you prepare for a big game?
My preparation is the same for every game. So it does not matter which team we play, they all count the same. But I always try to take a relaxed approach into all matches. I always make sure my boots and gloves are clean before every match as those are my tools and the rest gets taken care of on the pitch.

Any tips on warm-ups?
Well I have worked with a few different coaches and they have different ways of doing things. So I say to my coaches to give me the warm that they think is necessary and I can let them know if I need more or less. I also have a few personal preferences like when I do my running. Then it becomes a routine for every match and we both know how long it takes to do what needs to be done. Also, when I play with the national team, my warm ups are a little shorter because it gets really hot, and in winter in Belgium I go out 5 minutes earlier to do a little extra running to warm my body up properly.

Are you superstitious or do you have any pre-game rituals?
I’m not superstitious, but I do like to always make sure my equipment is clean and I never use my match boots and gloves in the warm-up because I don’t want them to be wet or dirty.

What techniques do you employ to keep focused for the full 90 minutes?
Well keepers are not busy for 90 minutes physically, but mentally. Our game starts just before we go out to play where I speak to the coach about their players strengths and weaknesses, and then during the game, I keep a mental picture of how our defense should be so that I am always ready and in the game. I also ask the coach a few things during the game to ensure all is going to plan.

What goalkeeper gloves do you wear and how important is the right goalkeeper glove to you?
I use Sells Goalkeeper Glove, its the most important thing for keepers because its our tools we use.

What are the main features you look for in a goalkeeper glove?
The important thing is to be comfortable in what you are wearing and to have the grip that suits your style. When you are comfortable with what you are using you have complete confidence.

Since you’ve started playing what is the most important bit of advice you’ve been given and by whom?
It was when I was playing in South Africa at Bidets Wits, our coach Roger De Sa said to me that when you make a decision, go with it. Don’t change your mind. Trust yourself and don’t hesitate. Just go with your first decision. It has been with me ever since.

What’s been your biggest career highlight(s) so far?
My biggest highlight in my career was representing South Africa at the AFCON in Equatorial Guinea. I played our opening game against Algeria.

Who is/has been your toughest opponent and do you prepare differently to face them? (Team and player)?
One of the toughest opponents I played against was Dieumerci Mbokani. He played for Anderlecht a while ago and he always made it difficult for our defenders and me. He got in dangerous positions and managed to score a few goals against me, he always knew what he was doing.

Any advice you could give to young goalkeepers trying to break through?
The only advice I can give is to know what you want to achieve, work hard, stay focused, listen to your coaches and never try to be someone else. Being a goalkeeper is a specialist position, and everyone has his own style. Be your own type of goalkeeper.

Thanks Darren!

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Daz @ KeeperPortal

Owner and creator of Keeper Portal, an FA qualified goalkeeping coach as well as being pretty impressive at keeping balls out of a net.

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