Janine Van Wyk’s historic swansong as Banyana Banyana qualify for WAFCON

One of Banyana Banyana’s longest-serving captains Janine Van Wyk bowed out of playing football in style as she became the most-capped international footballer in Africa for both males and females on Monday.

Van Wyk featured in her record-setting 185th international, breaking the record of former Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan, who broke South Africans’ hearts in the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations final in Burkina Faso. 

The 36-year-old started the match at Lucas Moripe Stadium before being substituted out after eight minutes, as Banyana went on to win 2-0 and secure qualification to the 2024 Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco, where they will look to defend their continental title.

“Well, today wouldn’t have been as joyous, for one, without a win, and qualifying for another AFCON. For me, it wasn’t about me today – yes, we celebrate the 185 caps, but we had a very important match to play,” said van Wyk.

“So, congratulations to the team and we wish them well for the next AFCON to defend another title for us.”

Van Wyk enjoyed a lengthy career that started at international level way back in 2005 and saw her lead the team to their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, having also captained the team in the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. 

With her family in attendance, along with members of her club JVW FC, the Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nocawe Mafu, and SAFA president Danny Jordaan, it was a fitting end to Van Wyk’s illustrious playing career.

“Overall this has just been the cherry on top of the cake of a lengthy career for me, a great fulfilment for me reaching this milestone, and what better way to do it than with the national team at home. It’s been a long journey with Banyana Banyana, there’ve been many ups and downs, but these are the kind of moments that one strives for, and to achieve every single dream you have planned out for yourself from a young age. So just reaching this last one is, like I said, a great fulfilment for me, so thanks for all the support,”the legend added.

(story credit: SABC Sport)

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