Banyana Banyana icon Janine van Wyk targets double joy

Banyana Banyana stalwart Janine van Wyk during a match in 2022.

Banyana Banyana stalwart Janine van Wyk. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Dec 3, 2023


Banyana Banyana is likely to pass another milestone on Monday when they wrap up their 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign against Burkina Faso.

The match is to be played at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, and will be the second-round, second-leg clash between the two countries, which are spaced far apart on the Fifa women’s world rankings.

South Africa is ranked 45th, while Burkina Faso slots in at a lowly 139.

Reigning champions South Africa were frustrated by Burkina Faso who held them to a 1-1 stalemate in the first-leg tie in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, on Thursday. Burkina Faso does not have a Fifa-approved venue, hence they turned to their southern neighbour to host the match.

There will be 11 qualifiers over the three days, and the aggregate winners will advance to the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Morocco next year.

Banyana stalwart Janine van Wyk, who was included in the run-on XI in the first leg, said the team would enjoy the backing of supporters on home turf.

“It’s good that we scored a goal and unfortunate that we conceded one,” said Van Wyk. “We will have the supporters behind us (at Atteridgeville).”

Van Wyk believes strong support from home fans will help them emulate their performance in the recent Olympic Qualifiers against Congo.

“We saw against Congo (in a Women’s Olympic qualifier) in the last game that we dominated every game that we played home and away,” she said.

“I think if we can just dominate, now that we know how Burkina Faso play, I think we can capitalise on their weaknesses.

“We were unlucky about the result (a draw), but we have one more chance to go, and I’m pretty sure it will be a good result for us.”

If Van Wyk gets a run tomorrow, the match will also mark a significant milestone in her illustrious career.

When she played in the first leg, she bagged her 184th cap for the national team, and that equalled Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan’s record for the most-capped player on the African continent, for both men and women, at the international level.

She has expressed her gratitude to the Banyana coaching staff for allowing her to reach her dream as she prepares to hang up her boots.

“It’s 184 caps, one cap to go, and just happy to be here with the team,” Van Wyk said to Safa Media.

“I’m very grateful for my teammates supporting me. There’s a good balance the national team has with the young and upcoming players, especially with the experience mixing that.

“It’s important for the senior players to accept the younger players coming in, just to take them under their wing, make them feel comfortable in an environment that they are in.

“At the end of the day, we are one nation and build the team forward together.”