Van Wyk receives 150 matches boot accolade

BIG MILESTONE: Banyana Banyana captain, Janine van Wyk, receives her 150 matches boot milestone at Safa House.Photo: Annette van Schalkwyk

BANYANA Banyana captain, Janine van Wyk, was honoured by the South African Football Association (Safa), for reaching the 150 matches milestone.

The 150 milestone boot was handed to her on November 7 at the Safa House.

The captain reached the milestone when Banyana beat Malawi 6-0 in the Cosafa Cup quarter-final.

The 31-year-old Alberton-born player holds the record for the most capped South African player, both male or female.

She is grateful that her career was not hampered by major injuries, and has reached a record 150 caps for the national squad.

After leading the national team to another win against Uganda, and featuring in the final held at Wolfson Stadium in the Eastern Cape, van Wyk now has 152 caps.

“I am proud of myself. I never thought I would get to this stage,” she said.

“We know soccer is a short career, but I am not the only one. There are other players like Nothando Vilakazi and Noko Matlou who already have reached 100 caps.”

She has decided not to renew her contract with Houston Dash. She thought it was important to stay in the country for the important qualifiers to the World Cup. “There are a few players that will not be able to play in the next World cup thus it is important that I am based in the country.”

“I do not remember how I played or what the score was, but it was against Nigeria in an Africa Women Cup of Nations tournament in 2005, and I was still a youngster,” she said, recalling the start of her career at Banyana.

She grew up in Germiston and started playing soccer at the age of six. She attended Hoërskool Alberton, and did not play soccer. Her first girls’ team was for Springs Home Sweepers which is based in KwaThema.

The Alberton-born player became the first South African to sign for the National Women’s Soccer League in the US in 2016.

The tournament will serve as a qualifier for next year’s Women’s World Cup in France.

“Only the top three teams at the tournament will qualify for the World Cup. This is our moment to make it there and that is my ultimate dream.”

Africa’s most capped player will be back in Johannesburg to join JVW FC, based in Bedfordview.

Van Wyk is now chasing the records of some of the most capped women in international football.

Retired US forward/midfielder Kristine Lilly is the most capped footballer in history with 354 appearances, followed by compatriot Mia Hamm with 276.

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  AUTHOR
Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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