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Van Wyk ends Banyana journey with head held high after reaching milestone

'Every achievement is a stepping stone to the next'

Neville Khoza Journalist
Banyana Banyana veteran Janine van Wyk
Banyana Banyana veteran Janine van Wyk
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Former Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk reflected on her journey after playing her last match for the senior women's national team and also shared some advice with the young players.

Van Wyk made history on Monday as she became the most capped African footballer, male or female, in her last match when Banyana beat Burkina Faso 2-0 at Lucas Moripe Stadium to qualify for Women's Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) in Morocco next year.

She has surpassed Egyptian legend Ahmed Hassan, who has 184 international caps. Speaking after the match, Van Wyk said this has been an incredible journey.

"Today [Monday] would not have been a joyful one without a win and qualifying for another Wafcon. It was not about me, yes, we celebrated the 185 caps, but we had a very important match to play," Van Wyk told the media during the post-match press conference.

"So, congratulations to the team and I wish them well for another Wafcon to defend the title for us. But overall, this has been just a cherry on top of the cake of a lengthy career for me.

"Great performance for me reaching this milestone and what better way to do it than with a national team at home.

"It has been a long journey with Banyana. There have been many ups and downs, but these are the kind of moments that one strives for to achieve each and every dream.

"Just reaching this last one means a lot to me."

Van Wyk, 36, also shared a motivational message to aspiring footballers.

"Every achievement or every dream that you set for yourself is a stepping stone to the next," she said.

"No matter what you achieve or how successful you are, you need to remain grounded. Grounded means staying humble and disciplined in your role.

"Knowing that you are earning a greater amount of money, and you are on top of the world, you have to work for anything that you want. I always say to youngsters that nothing worth it comes easy. Being successful is definitely a tough job, probably the toughest out there.

"You get challenged mentally. You get challenged everyday physically and you have to put in the hard work.

"Sometimes you don't want to wake up out of bed because of yesterday's training session, but you have to continue to grind the next day."

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