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Banyana Banyana star Janine van Wyk’s chances of reaching record number of caps hanging by a thread

Janine Van Wyk points on the field

Janine van Wyk still in need of two caps to becoming to most capped player on the continent. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Oct 27, 2023


Janine van Wyk’s chances of becoming the highest capped international player on the continent, male or female, are hanging by a thread.

Van Wyk is the second highest capped in Africa with 183 appearances for Banyana Banyana as she trails her Egyptian male counterpart, Ahmed Hassan, by one cap.

However, having announced her retirement from international football a fortnight ago, Safa and Banyana were keen to give her a glowing swansong in the Caf Olympic qualifiers.

Banyana coach Desiree Ellis named Van Wyk in her 25-member squad for their two Olympic qualifiers against the Democratic Republic of Congo away last Wednesday and at home this Monday.

A feature in both those matches would see Van Wyk etching her name in the history books, becoming the highest capped player on the continent.

But it wasn’t to be. Van Wyk didn’t play the first leg in Kinshasa as Ellis had to prioritise the result by fielding her best players. They drew the match 1-1 to earn an invaluable away goal.

Van Wyk didn’t take her omission very well so much so that he was a no show during Banyana’s preparations at AW Muller Stadium on Friday for the second leg in Orlando.

“Janine is not here. She’s mentally not okay with what happened in DR Congo. We didn’t give her a cap,” Ellis told the gathering media corps at the University of Johannesburg.

And while Van Wyk’s stance would seem unprofessional, Ellis says they are not holding anything against the 36-year-old as she could still make history in the umpcoming Women's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later in the year.

“Of course, there’s (still an opportunity for her to get it). We have some games that are coming up as well. We had spoken about the upcoming matches,” Ellis explained.