We resume our conversation between South African hockey legend and triple Olympian Marsha Cox and two future stars of the game, Onathile Zulu and Guy Morgan.
Both Zulu and Morgan will be competing at the FIH Hockey Junior World Cups: Zulu at the Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa, while Morgan will be captaining his nation in Bhubaneswar, India at the men’s event.
Cox started the second part of the interview by asking what the two 21-year-olds’ ambitions were.
“Our main goal is to get into the quarter finals and then we are really looking for a medal,” says Morgan. “About 18 months ago we made the decision that we wanted to be the best that there has been so far for South Africa.
“Right back from when I was in the U16 age group, we have kept the team pretty much together and we have a really cool coaching staff, who have also been with us. So we all know each other really well and that is a major factor in any team’s success.”
“At the previous camp we were all at, we said we want to be on the podium,” added Zulu. “Our common goal is to be on the podium. It could happen so long as we play to the best of our ability.”
“We played against the Netherlands a few months ago in Stellenbosch, so we are aware of them but generally we are focusing on ourselves,” she added.
Both athletes agreed that the performances of the women’s and men’s senior teams at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, had been inspirational.
“Our coach was part of that team,” said Morgan. “And when they came back, the players and the coaches were saying that they could have done even better. Our coach is now looking at ways that we can take what the senior men learned to make our performance so much better. That information from the men’s team will put us on a good footing.”
“The responsibility to lead by example is a little bit overwhelming,” says Zulu, speaking of her experience at the Olympic Games. “I have to be the best version of myself to help the other players. There were two of us at the Olympic Games and we experienced the highest calibre of hockey ever. We want to be playing at the highest level we possibly can as a junior side too and to showcase our skill set and our ability to play at that level.”
The interview concluded with Zulu and Morgan showing their appreciation of Cox’s continued involvement in South African hockey.
“It is amazing to have someone you can look up and who can give you advice,’ said Zulu. “I made my debut in 2019 so to be able to speak to someone who has been part of the World XI and who has so many caps and so much experience is incredible.
“And” added Morgan, “even as she stopped playing, she has put so much effort into South African hockey since then.”