Malta, Wanderers icon Ronnie Cocks passes away, aged 73

Cocks, who joined Gzira in 1956 then moved to Sliema Wanderers in 1962, made his debut for Malta in 1966 before going to captain the national team

Ronnie Cocks in one of his appearances for Malta
Ronnie Cocks in one of his appearances for Malta

The former Sliema Wanderers icon and 13-time captain of the Malta national football team, Ronnie Cocks, passed away early on Tuesday, aged 73.

Born on 1 August 1943, Cocks is regarded as a true stalwart of Maltese football and a Sliema Wanderers icon after helping the club win several honours during his long stint with the Blues.

He made his senior football debut for Gżira United in 1956 while still in his early teens, before joining Sliema Wanderers in 1962.

Cocks, who played in attack, went on to establish himself as a key player for the club, winning several honours, including five national championships between 1964 and 1972, and five FA Trophy medals.

He played 25 games for Sliema in UEFA competitions, scoring four goals.

At international level, Cocks made his debut for Malta in the friendly home match against Libya (1-0) at Manoel Island on February 13, 1966. He made a total of 21 appearances for the national team, scoring one goal.

Cocks captained Malta on 13 occasions, including the famous game against England at Wembley Stadium in 1971.

Winner of the MFA Footballer of the Year award in season 1965/66, Cocks also had a short spell with NASL club Pittsburgh Phantoms in 1967 and also turned out for Ħamrun Spartans and Pietà Hotspurs.

He went on to coach several clubs, including Pietà Hotspurs, Gżira United, Mosta, Marsa, Msida St Joseph, St George’s and Pembroke Athleta.

In a statement, the Malta Football Association said it was saddened by news of Cocks’ passing and offered its condolences to the footballer’s relatives.