Maties Head Coach Lenise Marais excited about the prospects at the Junior Hockey WC

The Maties Hockey club has historically always been one that provides some of South Africa’s top players on the hockey turf. Players like Keenan Horne, Tarryn Glasby, Heather McEwan, Nicole la Fleur, Alex Stewart, and Dylan Swanepoel have all donned the Maroon colours of Maties. Somewhat of a family environment exists among the players, coaches, and administrators and this is testament of the number of coaches and players that have etched their names in the historical annals of the country’s hockey books. 

One such a name is Lenise Marais, who has been part of Maties Hockey since her first year in 2003. Born and bred in Durban, matriculated at New Forest High School Marais trying her hand and feet at all sporting codes including cricket, football, touch rugby and basketball before picking up the hockey stick and well, sticking with it. Marais, who joined the coaching staff ahead of the 2005/06 season, as an assistant coach part of the Sport Science Specialisation, has been coming up through the coaching ranks at Maties Hockey in a career that spans well over 15 years. Always putting the players’ ambitions and goals first has driven and impacted Marais so much that it is part of what makes her tick. She was appointed as the head coach in 2021.

“I just hope to make a positive impact wherever I’m involved in hockey,” Marais told Maties Sport, when highlighting a very strong coaching philosophy that she embodies as a coach. 

Marais has a stellar resume and is one of the many decorated Maties hockey club members atop of these accolades it includes two Summer Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games, and two Hockey World Cups. The talented Marais does not solely rely on her natural abilities, but a very hard worker. 

Key to having and maintaining the successes that Marais have enjoyed both on and off the hockey field, is due to her resilience to always push herself. In a previous article, the Maties head coach alluded to her affection for reading and declaring herself somewhat of a nerd. 

The article quoted Marais saying: “I am a hockey nerd who enjoys reading (the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series are my favourites) and watching sport.”

Marais is headed to the U21 World Cup with the South African team and is hoping to do well, like most coaches do ahead of a massive tournament, the former Maties hockey star hope that they can do their loved ones, each other and also the country proud. 

“I just hope to make a positive impact wherever I’m involved in hockey, this includes international and provincial tournaments. Players give it their all on the training field, and as a coach you want to give each player the opportunity to prove themselves especially on a stage as big as this. Like the players, I’m excited and looking forward to the World Cup. I’m hoping we can deliver good performances.”

Since joining the Maties Hockey club during her first year, in 2003, Marais has an in-depth understanding and knows what pressures students face on a daily basis. This is one of the biggest challenges that student-athletes face while trying to remain competitive but also keeping up with their academic work. 

“Education is key, hockey isn’t a professional sport in South Africa,” laments Marais as she highlights the importance of getting an education. “Our athletes will need to work and earn a living during and post their hockey playing career.”