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Janine van Wyk to top African appearances record at Wafcon qualifier

Veteran Mpumi Nyandeni also to be given opportunity to rack up 150th cap

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Banyana Banyana veteran defender Janine van Wyk.
Banyana Banyana veteran defender Janine van Wyk.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has confirmed veteran defender Janine van Wyk, who controversially stormed out of the previous camp, will finally realise her dream to become the most-capped African player, regardless of gender. 

Ellis included Van Wyk in her final squad to face Burkina Faso in the two-legged Wafcon qualifier next Thursday and on December 4 away and home respectively. The former Banyana skipper is currently on 183 caps, while Egyptian legend Ahmed Hassan holds the record with 184 caps, meaning the two games against Burkina Faso will see her equal and break the record.

“We’ll do our utmost best for her to get her two caps. It’s not just a record for her but I think it’s a record for women’s football in the country, it’s a record for Safa and a record for women’s football on the continent,” Ellis said on Tuesday at Safa House in Nasrec.

“Yes, she was in the previous camp and I was asked the question by the media if there will be another opportunity and I said, yes, there’ll be an opportunity, and Burkina Faso is the opportunity.”

Last month, Van Wyk set tongues wagging when she took to Twitter to express her disappointment that she remained an unused substitute in Banyana’s first leg against DR Congo in the Olympics qualifiers away, before leaving camp ahead of the second leg at home as she felt she was being denied a chance to be the continent’s most-capped player.

Allowing Van Wyk to earn the caps to break the continental record will certainly trigger a question; why doesn’t Ellis call up another veteran Mpumi Nyandeni, who is on 149 appearances, to rack up that elusive 150th cap? The Banyana coach has since assured the nation that plans were afoot to make sure Nyandeni, 36, gets her ceremonial milestone too.

“I’ve been in conversation with Mpumi. There’s definitely an opportunity. Janine was the first one that reached out to say she was retiring, no one else has reached out and Mpumi is the second one that has reached out and there’s definitely something in the pipeline,” Ellis disclosed.

Keepers: Andile Dlamini, Kaylin Swart, Katlego Moletsane

Defenders: Karabo Dhlamini, Fikile Magama, Van Wyk, Faith Nokuthula, Asanda Hadebe, Noko Matlou, Lonathemba Mhlongo, Lebogang Ramalepe

Midfielders: Linda Motlhalo, Kholosa Biyana, Sphumelele Shamase , Amogelang Motau, Thubelihle Shamase

Forwards Nicole Michael, Gabriela Salgado, Noxolo Cesane, Wendy Shongwe, Hildah Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana, Samkelisiwe Selana, Jermaine Seoposenwe

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