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HomeSouth African SoccerBanyana's Van Wyk to hang up her boots after one last dance

Banyana’s Van Wyk to hang up her boots after one last dance

‘This has been by far one of the hardest decisions of my life,’ said Van Wyk.

Following an illustrious career with Banyana Banyana, defender Janine van Wyk is set to don the national team jersey for the very last time, as she calls time on her football career.

With 183 caps for the senior national women’s team, Van Wyk is the longest serving Banyana player, with her national team career having begun in 2005.

The former Banyana captain missed out on last year’s historical moment when Banyana beat Morocco to lift the Caf Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) for the first time, though she was part of the squad and played in the group stages against Botswana. Van Wyk also missed out on the team that competed at the past Fifa Women’s World Cup – where Banyana made it the last 16.

Van Wyk now returns to the team for the 2024 Caf Women’s Olympics qualifiers against DR Congo this month, with the rest of the squad set to be announced in the next coming days.

The defender says calling it quits to the beautiful game was very difficult, but reveals that it is time to say goodbye.

“This has been by far one of the hardest decisions of my life. This decision has always been one I have wanted to make on my terms. And this is my time to say goodbye to football as a player while I watch the next generation shine,” Van Wyk told Safa.net.

“It has been my greatest honour and privilege to play this beautiful game, in particular playing for my country, which has and always will be the greatest gift football has ever offered me.”

‘Absolute legend’

Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis described Van Wyk as legend and says she has always given her all for Banyana.

“There are so many superlatives that I can use to describe Janine. I think she’s an absolute legend of the game, not just in South Africa, but also on the African continent as well as globally,” the Banyana mentor.

“She has led the team at Olympic Games and the World Cup. She has given her all every time she has stepped onto the field. She loved representing this national team and has always played with her heart on her sleeve. She’s an absolute role model to all the kids out there. And I wish her everything of the best in her new adventure.”

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