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South Africa’s Van Wyk becomes most capped African footballer

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Janine van Wyk waves to fans during their arrival, after winning their first Women's Africa Cup of Nations title in Morocco, at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/ File photo Acquire Licensing Rights

South African defender Janine van Wyk became the most capped African footballer of all time when she made her 185th international appearance on Monday in a seven-minute cameo against Burkina Faso that was contrived to give her the record.

Van Wyk, 36, goes past former Egypt international Ahmed Hassan, who won 184 caps and was a stalwart for his side between 1995 and 2012.

The South African, who did not play at the recent Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand due to injury, announced her international retirement in October, but was handed the two caps she needed to surpass Hassan in Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Burkinabe.

The second of those lasted only seven minutes before she was replaced in a tactical substitution. Defending champions South Africa won 2-0 in Johannesburg to claim a 3-1 aggregate victory and advance to next year’s finals in Morocco.

Van Wyk made her senior international debut against Nigeria in 2005 and has been one of South Africa’s most recognisable players in the women’s national team.

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She had two seasons with Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League and also played for Glasgow City in Scotland.

She has her own club in South Africa, JVW FC, where double Olympic 800-metres champion Caster Semenya previously trained in the hope of launching a career in football that never materialised.

 

-Reuters

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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