After reaching a milestone of 185 international caps and making history as the most capped African footballer, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis sent a heartfelt farewell message to Janine van Wyk.
Van Wyk surpassed the long-standing record that was set by former Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan.
To add a cherry on top of her illustrious achievement, Banyana secured qualification to the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
This after they beat Burkina Faso 2-0 (3-1 on aggregate) at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Pretoria on Monday.
On the scoresheet for Banyana were skilful midfielder Linda Motlhalo, who netted from the penalty spot, and exciting prospect Nicole Michael, who registered her first international goal for the national women’s side.
Speaking at a post-match media briefing, Ellis said the record could not have been broken by a better person than Van Wyk
“I want to say congratulations to Janine, I think this [record] is well-deserved,” Ellis said.
“She has given her all, always wore her heart on her sleeves and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.
“Good luck and welcome to this space, it’s not easy but we wish her all the best and hopefully your coaching career is as successful as your playing career.”
The 36-year-old Van Wyk said remaining grounded and disciplined was key for her in reaching the mammoth achievement, adding that she is keen to meet Hassan one day.
“Every achievement or every dream that you set for yourself is a stepping stone to the next,” said Van Wyk.
“No matter what you achieve or how successful you are, you need to remain grounded. Grounded means staying humble and disciplined in your role.
“I always say to youngsters that nothing worthy comes easy, being successful is a tough job. Probably the toughest out there.
“I would also really love to meet him [Hassan] one day and probably watch some of his games, because I have never got an opportunity to watch him before.
“But I definitely would really love to meet him and hear what he has to say that now a female has taken the record.”