Kemperman: ‘Honoured to wear shirt No. 14’

Robbert Kemperman played his 200th international match for Netherlands against Malaysia in the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium.

An integral part of the 'Oranje Machine,' attacking midfielder Robbert Kemperman is honoured to wear shirt No. 14, which was made famous by the great Teun de Nooijer.

For Kemperman, being in de Nooijer's shoes is a matter of pride. “It's a big honour specially after Teun de Nooijer wore it. I am wearing it for a couple of years now. I don't feel the pressure,” Kemperman said.

Kemperman said his association with de Nooijer taught him a few things. “We are different. He is a world class player and was the best player of the World Cup. I am really happy I have played with him and learnt a lot from him.

“I like his views on the game. He used to play really easy (sic) but a good game. Really proud to have played with him.”

Being an experienced member of the side, the 28-year-old, who played his 200th international match for Netherlands against Malaysia in the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here, is enjoying his role.

“We are different. He is a world class player and was the best player of the World Cup. I am really happy I have played with him and learnt a lot from him.” — Robbert Kemperman on Teun de Nooijer.

“They – the coach, the team, the players around me – expect me to take responsibility, but that's natural.”

Kemperman is happy to be a part of a professional hockey set-up. “We have different kinds of clubs. Everyone is playing in those clubs in the country. When we come together, we have to make the Oranje Machine. We have a good team with good individuals, good balance with young and old.”

A two-time World Cup medallist, a London Olympics silver medal winner and a two-time European championship gold medallist, Kemperman said his team's focus on fitness training, backed by scientific support, was one of the key reasons behind its success.

“We do a lot of fitness, it's our job. We are foolproof and that's what you need at the moment. Every team here is very fit. We train everyday; three days a week we go to the gym. It's like four-five hours a week,” said Kemperman.