I have grown up with an extreme passion for South Africa and an extreme passion for sport. Ultimately through playing hockey at high school in the late 90’s I developed a massive love for the under appreciated game of hockey. It is through this love that I have watched and been inspired by players like Kate Woods, Gregg Clarke, Greg Nicol and Pietie Coetzee-Turner. Of course none have inspired quite as much as the incredible Marsha Cox (Maresca), who has announced her retirement through an open letter on the SA Hockey website. Filling the gap she leaves will not be easy, but something that I know she will believe in the capability of others.
Marsha Cox made her debut for South Africa in 2001 at the age of just 18 and would feature for the national team on more than 300 occasions. She emerged as one of the greats, not just in South Africa, but on the World circuit and was named in the FIH World XI in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
As a leader Marsha was second to none, to the extant that Nicolene Terblanche announced that Marsha was the best captain she has ever played with before being given the opportunity to lead South Africa herself. Her career also saw the dimunitive midfielder feature in three Olympic Games (2004, 2008 & 2012), four FIH Womens World Cup (2002 2006, 2010 & 2014) and four Commonwealth Games (2002, 2006, 2010 & 2014).
When something special needed to happen in a game, Marsha could literally grab the game by the scruff of the neck and would lead by example in demonstrating the never say die attitude so often associated with South African sport. Very few players can turn the momentum of a game single-handedly, but Marsha was one of those that could. It is testament to her longevity and ability, that even though she played hockey and not one of the big three, she is a household name in South African sport.
Marsha has not just had a love for the game in her sporting life but also in her personal life as it was a love for hockey and the opportunity to play club hockey in Holland that led to her meeting Alexander who later became her husband. She pays a fantastic tribute to him in her open letter.
From a true hockey fan I just wanted to say thank you for the service you gave this country, thank you for the positivity that you spoke about our country with and mostly thank you for the blood, sweat and tears you shed for South Africa in your remarkable career! I wish you the best of luck for your next endeavours, if you approach your new challenges in the way you approached your hockey career we know you will be a success!