South African footballer Janine van Wyk made history on Monday, becoming the most capped African footballer after playing her 185th match for South Africa in a 2-0 win against Burkina Faso during the African Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Van Wyk, a central defender aged 36, surpassed Egyptian Ahmed Hassan’s record of 184 caps, which he achieved upon retiring in 2012.
During the recent match against Burkina Faso in Atteridgeville, Van Wyk played for eight minutes before being substituted and confirmed her retirement from professional football.
Her football journey began in 2005 when she made her debut for South Africa. It took her nine years to reach 100 caps, and she equaled Hassan’s record by playing in the first leg against Burkina Faso last week.
Among her notable achievements with the Banyana Banyana team, she participated in the 2019 World Cup and the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
In an emotional moment, Van Wyk bid farewell to the field in Atteridgeville, expressing her gratitude to all those who supported her throughout her illustrious career.
Reflecting on her retirement, she emphasized the importance of senior players like her nurturing and guiding younger talents. Van Wyk stressed the need to develop and support the next generation while gracefully stepping aside.
South Africa’s victory secured their spot in the next Women’s Cup of Nations finals, following their title win against Morocco in the 2022 tournament.
Apart from her international career, Van Wyk played for various clubs, including JVW, a Johannesburg-based team she co-founded, along with stints at Houston Dash, Fortuna Hjorring in Denmark, and Glasgow City.