Mixed feelings for captain Marsha as SA end 10th | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mixed feelings for captain Marsha as SA end 10th

SA women’s hockey captain Marsha Marescia will take her troops back to South Africa after their best Olympic Games performance to date, writes Mark Etheridge.

And she’ll return with mixed emotions after SA lost Wednesday’s ninth-10th place play-off to Japan with a golden goal five minutes from extra time relegating them to 10th spot.

“We just didn’t take our chances,” reflected Marescia. “We had a number of chances but I think the Japanese girls had the bigger fight in them today. They overloaded their right side and we just couldn’t get through.

“It would have been very nice to end on a win because for a number of our players this will be their last Olympic Games.”

And Marescia, like coach Giles Bonnnet previously in the competition, lamented the fickleness of the SA fight.

“Today some players stood up individually but it wasn’t a collective fight and you can’t have only 60% of players standing up. You have to be able to fight collectively for the full 70 minutes.”

But Marescia also took plenty out of the tournament. “Beating the US 7-0 was like a drug it was such a high and then it was great to be there for Pietie’s [Coetzee] 250th┬á Test. And our defensive efforts against Germany and Australia was also very encouraging.

“The big thing going forward is that we need to be participating way more against the top nations. It’s the only way that we are going to improve going forward. We’ve got the Champions’ Challenge in September/October (Dublin) and we need to carry on this momentum.

“We’ve always played for last place at our previous Olympics so this is definitely a step up, now we just to see we got enough points during the Games to improve our FIH ranking.”