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Kiwitea Street remembers Marica Stanisich

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 30 May 2021

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Central United FC, Auckland City FC and the family, friends and former team-mates of the late Marica Botica (nee Stanisich) celebrated her life at Kiwitea Street this weekend as the clubs recognised her contribution to football and our wider community.

Marica, who played for the Central United FC women's team in the 1980s, was part of the first Central United FC's women's team and played a key role in the side winning a league title.

A moment’s silence was observed and black armbands worn by Auckland City FC staff and players at the Northern League match between Auckland City FC and Auckland United FC, a dramatic game won 3-1 by the home side.

Marica's family, friends and former team-mates were hosted by Club Ambassador Arthur Egan.

Members of the Central United FC women's team from the NRF Women's Championship side of 2021 were also at Kiwitea Street to pay respects to Marica's family and contribution to football.

The moment's silence was also recognised by Central United FC's NRF Women's Community Division 2 squad in their 3-3 draw with West Auckland.

Marica's family, friends and former team-mates were hosted by Club Ambassador Arthur Egan.

Former team-mate, goalkeeper Mirjana Herceg, was close to Marica and recalls her as a footballer, a person with great humour and commitment, love for life, friends, family, team-mates and the club.

“Off the football field, Marica was a gentle and softly spoken person but when she went in for a fifty-fifty challenge the other player always came out second best. She was a quiet gentle soul
but was a very tough and competitive fullback.

“Marica was a footballer who gave her all and she never let me or her team-mates down,” Herceg said.

Herceg says that warmth and humour shone out from a bright multi-faceted and multi-talented woman who believed in her principles, fought her corner with careful consideration and honesty.

“When you got to know Marica you learned fast that she was a witty and very intelligent person who would debate and stand her ground in a conversation.

“Marica had a lot of talents, she was a qualified nurse who was well respected and loved by her colleagues, a musician who played the accordion alongside Michael Marinovich.

“She was a great strawberry picker on her family farm.

“Marica hung out a lot with her cousin Mary Stanisich, whom we nicknamed ‘Blondie’.

Mary was also mischievous and they always looked like they were up to something, they were always laughing and giggling,” she said.

Herceg fondly remembers a day spent in celebration at Marica’s parents home, a day that sums up the warmth she brought to all who knew her.

“I remember Marica’s parents held a lunch at their place for the girls in our team and did a lamb on the spit. The food and hospitality was so warm and welcoming just what you would have expected from her family.

“It was an occasion I will always remember and we topped it off with singing and drinking.

It’s a happy day I will never forget,” she said.

Marica passed away on Sunday 16 May 2021 and Herceg recalls their last visit together and the courage and humility shown by her friend and team-mate.

“Marica had cancer and the last time I saw her was at Blondie’s 50th birthday party.

The cancer had come back but she never complained about it, she got on with her life spending quality time with her family.

“She always had a warm smile on her face when she saw you and I will miss her witty humour. Marica was one in a million and I send all my love and condolences to her family and extended families. Until we
meet again, Marica,” Herceg said.

If you wish to read more about the life of the late Marica Botica, please read the Auckland City FC online match programme where friends and former team-mates recall her tenacity, passion and commitment to family, friends and football.

Ends

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