Johannesburg - Janine van Wyk is grateful that her career was not hampered by any major injuries and that she has reached a record 150 caps for Banyana Banyana.
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The national team captain reached this milestone on Monday when Banyana beat Malawi 6-0 in the Cosafa Cup quarter-final.
The 31-year-old holds the record for the most capped South African player – male or female.
After leading the national team to another win against Uganda on Wednesday and featuring yesterday 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 reached 100 caps.”
The former Houston Dash player may not vividly remember her first game after she donned the Banyana shirt, but she appreciates the impact it had on her career.
“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.”
The Alberton-born player became the first South African to sign for the National Women’s Soccer League in the US in 2016.
The defender has decided not to go back to Houston Dash so that she can help Banyana do well in the Africa Women Cup of Nations in November.
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, which plays out of Bedfordview in the south of Johannesburg.
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.