A moment with…Kasper HvidtArticle
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A MOMENT WITH: The KIF Kolding Kobenhavn goalkeeper delves into everything from what inspired him to his long and successful career, instilling fear into opposition to his grand plan for the future

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

A moment with…Kasper Hvidt

It's rare for me after so many years in the media to be pensive about an interview, but it was with some trepidation that I waited in the Brondby arena for the arrival of Kasper Hvidt. His disarming smile didn't quite put me at my ease, as I was still like a little kid about to interview a legend.

But he is a talker and therefore an interviewers dream. This interview gives a great insight into what goes into becoming a top class goalkeeper, but also the workings of a mind that lives and loves handball.

“There is one Kasper and two parts”

I admit that his on court persona gave me some pause as to how it would be like to interview him. I ask if there are two Kaspers, as his off-court personality is genuinely warm. We talk about an incident involving Joli from the Dunkerque match last year. He admits his younger self might have run the length of the court to “kill” him, but that he realises that that just leads to lack of concentration in his own game.

He is a winner. He only wants to win handball games and warm-up football, everything else he can accept coming second. He is all about the concentration, competition and performance, whether it be a meeting, a speech or a game.

“The goalkeeper is naked”

He says the spotlight is constantly on the GK position as the mistakes are more obvious. But with age comes experience and a calmness that you can evaluate situations and not just worry about the statistical percentage. His explanation about goalkeeping is worth listening to for any budding coach or player as he realises that theoretically, one shouldn't be able to save the shots in a handball game.

He speaks about a memory bank of photographs that his brain is able to access before he has had time to think. This instinct or reaction leads him to do things that are inexplicable to the shooter.

He explains preparation for games, whereby he can exclude certain shots from the opposition because he knows his defence doesn't allow those types of shots. Incredible stuff! Added to the rhythm of a game you wonder how a player can actually store all this knowledge in one head.

“If you think I'm crazy now, you should have seen 11-year-old Kasper in goal”

A boy of ten waits in line for the Danish national team autographs as they prepare to go to a World Championship. He doesn't know who they are or how good they are. He gets illegible signatures which are disappointing. He starts to play on the right wing (as a right hander) and ends up in goal.

His first thought of ever winning anything major is when the Swedish team beats the Soviets in 1990 in Prague. He can still remember the names of all the players. He decides he will win something with Denmark. He even buys the same jersey, trousers and shoes as the players he adores. But he thinks; if Sweden can do it so can we.

The 2008 Danish team on that won the gold at the EURO is, essentially, the core of KIF. He admits having the guys around makes it fun. He knows who to trust, how they will react and who will panic.

He doesn't go in to the ins and outs of the bankruptcy of AG Copenhagen, but rather explains how the merger of the two clubs came about. He was instrumental in it happening, but modest to a fault, he explains that they needed the likes of Jorgensen, Boldsen, and Laen (even though he didn't make that particular event) to be there to make it work.

He has what the Americans would call a type A personality. I prefer to call him an achiever. His work at the club (and he admits the first year and a half was tough going) has given him more information about how the club works. He is now already looking at what players might replace the aforementioned if they come to the end of the road. There is even the possibility of playing at a 13,000-seater stadium in Copenhagen and with Kasper on board you can see the dream becoming a reality. To do this he claims, we need great Danish players. Who knows whether Landin or Hansen might ply their trade in the future at KIF?

The club is very close to his heart. They are building and the younger guys are learning daily from the giants of the Danish game. He himself will keep playing as long as it is fun, it doesn't hurt and he can still save balls.

From talk of other goalkeepers and their signature moves, to how a goalkeeper should never be a coach (except for Pascual, great story by the way), to dreams fulfilled and many more still to achieve, Kasper Hvidt is a guy you listen to. As he says, being appreciated or being at the top of you game is “something you earn”.

I think he has earned the right to be considered one of the best in his position in the world. Still going strong at 38, the lover of jazz and Woody Allen has the same dry sense of humour. If you have a spare 47 minutes, it is certainly worth a listen. Listen to it here.

TEXT: Tom O Brannagain, ehfTV commentator