Pride of the Citadel- An Interview with Kep Bonnefie
Hello, Neopian Times! I’m Skaata, interviewing Kep Bonnefie of Team Darigan Citadel. Darigan did quite well in this year's cup, ending with a podium finish, but the loyal fans anxiously await a true return to form. Let’s get the perspective of someone from the inside.
Kep: “I appreciate the fact that you waited until after the finals to ask for an interview; there are so many buffoons who pay no heed to the fact that we need to focus on our preparation and not their stupid questions.”
Skaata: “Ehehe, well, I hope the questions I’ve prepared pass muster! Now, let’s get it out of the way – the rumour about the Darigan Yooyus in the match with Kiko Lake. You know about it?”
Kep: “Erugh. Yes, I’ve heard about it. I suppose it’s good to nip it in the bud here and now, so everybody gets the message. The idea that we influence the Darigan Yooyus in our favour by whispering in some unknown demon tongue? Absolutely asinine, as you’ve probably figured out. First of all, it doesn’t make any sense – all of the Yooyus used by the Altador Cup are born and bred in Altador among their fellow Yooyus. There’s no cultural crossover between us and them at all. Secondly, if a Yooyu were found to be open to manipulation by players, they’d be kicked out of Altador Cup faster than a Kiko asking for an Altador Cup donation. That’d be a huge dishonour for any Yooyu; do you think they’d risk that kind of humiliation just to help us score a goal or two, purely because we’re both purple?”
Skaata: “Those are excellent points, and your integrity was never in doubt on my end. Some Yooyuball fans are utterly convinced that the match was fixed; what do you say to them?”
Kep: “We care about those who matter to us; ourselves, our homeland, and the fans. We honestly couldn’t care less about the opinion of some booger-licking knuckle dragger who’d rather be angry than right. It’s less stressful in the long run to ignore these kinds of people. Liberating, even. Helps us focus on the game.”
Skaata: "Love the creative insults! You've consistently used an offensive formation of a balance of two offensive players and two defenders throughout your Yooyuball career- can you explain the philosophy behind that decision?"
Kep: “We think it’s dumb to assume that the games will always go one way or another; anything can happen in a game as fast-paced as Yooyuball, so we design our playbook around adapting, and that’s the philosophy at the heart of any balanced formation. We can train to go after any weakness, any breaking point, and that’s exactly what we do. We don’t break the rules, but we don’t play nice, either. No quarter is given, and none is expected. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Skaata: “The results speak for themselves! Darigan Citadel’s done a lot better recently compared to a few years prior, completing the year with a fantastic podium finish, but hasn’t managed to cinch the cup a second time. What, in your opinion, is the reason for this?”
Kep: “It’s… difficult to say, really. Layton’s been blaming himself for it, says the buck ultimately stops with him, but I have to disagree with him, just this once. We’re a team – we share the load equally, in victory and in defeat. It’s possible that we’ve simply not shaken up the salad enough, if you catch my drift. Yooyuball as a sport is constantly evolving in terms of strategies, both new ones and older ones that fall in and out of fashion. Yes, of course we’re adaptable, and we always try to develop new strategies – we came up with some great innovations this year, and the results speak for themselves. But maybe some small piece of the puzzle is holding us back from the title and we don’t even realise it. It could be a small thing, but when the competition is this razor-sharp, any weakness can and will be used against us. We just need to figure out what that is.”
Skaata: “Some have been saying that the reason that Darigan Citadel has been unable to win the entire cup is that the roster has been stagnant for too long. Do you think that swapping a player or two would be beneficial for your performance as a team?”
Kep: “A change in the roster? It’s hard for me to imagine, really. I mean, sure, I suppose that’s a good way to forcefully combat stagnation, but we’ve been together as an unbroken squad since the second Altador Cup. We have a really good sense of team flow, and we’re great at reading one another and playing off each other effectively. No, I doubt we’d replace team members on a whim, especially since there’s no clear weak link in our lineup. It’s more likely that one of us would retire due to a bad injury or something equally serious – and I mean serious. We’ve stuck together through too much to just drop it all on a hunch – we Darigans take those sorts of bonds seriously. If you’ve got no loyalty, you’ve got nothing worth talking about.”
You know, this conversation made me think of a game from many years ago – think it was against the Haunted Woods. Now, consider this – it’s been an intense game, it’s unbelievably hot, and we’ve been juggling an unruly Darigan Yooyu that’s simply refused to leave our side of the pitch for, no exaggeration, half of the match. Haunted Woods knows that it’s just not our day, and has moved most of their defense up to try to push the aggression. It’s feeling like it’s only a matter of time until Collifey’s reflexes in the net can’t hack it – he’s looking pretty worn down by this point, too. Well, the seconds are ticking down, Collifey’s figuring out where he should aim his next throw-in… then he gets this weird look in his eye, grins like he’s just come up with the best joke of his life, and dumps the Yooyu into our own net. Layton’s furious, the crowd’s in an uproar, and I’m just thinking the heat’s gotten to his head.
But… as the next Yooyu is being prepared to enter the pitch, it dawns on me. The game’s been super long, Brains’ stitching is starting to pop, and most of their defense is absolutely exhausted at this point, especially since most of them aren’t used to playing aggressively. What we’d really needed was a reset in position (and a more cooperative Yooyu) to be able to take advantage of that fact – and we end up taking home the W in a super close game. Layton apologised for his outburst after the fact; Collifey took it well, as he always does. Since then, Layton’s been a rock, absolutely unshakeable. All of us trust each other completely.”
Skaata: “I remember that game! Absolutely legendary play, and an insane amount of foresight from Collifey. You mentioned that he ‘always takes it well’ – is it common for him to be derided for his performances?”
Kep: “Sort of, but perhaps not in the way you expect. As you’re probably thinking, goalkeepers really do catch a lot of flak for fumbling shots, even if those shots were pretty much uncatchable, just because that’s the clearest way for many a casual fan to process the failure to stop a goal; defenders mispredicting or offense mispositioning are more abstract than that, and require more game knowledge to detect. That’s not really what I meant, though. Collifey actually performs with Frein in a comedy club on the weekends, a sort of funny man/straight man act, if by ‘straight man’ you mean ‘Frein absolutely buries Collifey in the most outlandish insults and practical comedy bits you can imagine’. It’s all part of the act, of course, but Darigan humour’s a little different than that of the, uh, ‘continentals’, as we say. You think my insults are good? Well, they don’t call him ‘the Terror” for nothing, you know; they had to add a bit into the rules to ban trash talking on the field, Frein was just so good at getting into the enemy’s head and tilting them off the face of the planet. There’s a reason Layton doesn’t want him doing interviews. It’s a great show, by the way! Huge recommend from me, especially if you feel like supporting local businesses and if you have a sense of humour underneath that squeaky-clean reporter schtick.”
Skaata: “Hah! You want a sense of humour? You know that King Skarl guy? Well I found my way into his chambers once, and you won’t believe …”
I’m afraid I’ll have to cut it off here, ladies and gentlemen, so I don’t get sued for defamation of character (of course, I never actually made it into his chambers… I promise! I swear! 100% joke setup only!) Tune in next time for a grand trip to the mountains featuring another popular team!