6 August 2020 – Banyana Banyana captain and stalwart, Janine van Wyk has opened up about her career which has spanned decades and has seen her achieve what few have done in the game of football.
Van Wyk who is heading to the Scottish capital to play for Glasgow City continues to be an amazing trailblazer of women football in South Africa.
Janine spoke to SAFA.net on a variety of issues in this Women’s Month.
SAFA.net: Football has given you an amazing life. Can you take us through this journey so far?
JVW: Without this sport I am not sure where life would’ve taken me. Everything I am and have achieved is through this beautiful game. I started playing from a young age with the boys who moulded me into a strong and bold woman. They shaped me into what I am today and to stand out among the rest. Another challenge came about when I joined an all ladies team where I found that I was the only white player in the team and league. Struggling to learn a different culture and language, I managed to adapt fairly quickly as I concentrated mainly on communicating and connecting with my teammates through playing the game. Today I feel that every challenge I faced along the way led me to be the person I am today.
SAFA.net: What have been the highlights of your glittering career?
JVW: The highlights of my career is definitely leading Banyana Banyana to our first ever FIFA World Cup in France last year. It was a dream come true and a moment I would cherish for the rest of my life.
SAFA.net: How have you been juggling between JVW club and your personal career?
JVW: Managing a football club while you are still actively playing has not been an easy task, but fortunately for me, I have had remarkable and like-minded people that have supported me by looking after and managing the club to allow me to concentrate on my football career.
SAFA.net: Your message to SASOL and their unwavering support for women’s football
JVW: SASOL has been the stepping stone and the building block for women’s football in our country. They have bought into the women’s game and stuck with us when no one else believed that its worth investing their money in.
I believe that other corporates will eventually jump on board as the women’s game is growing in leaps and bounds. However, kudos to SASOL for providing an opportunity and platform for female footballers when other companies failed to take the risk. I shudder to think what would have been of women’s football without SASOL.
SAFA.net: Which are some of the clubs you have played for?
JVW: I have represented many clubs in my career and every club has contributed to the success of my career: I have played for Scaw Metals Fc – Boys club, Springs Homesweepers,
Moroka Swallows, Alberton Ladies FC, Luso Africa, Palace Super Falcons, Sundowns Ladies, Houston Dash, Fortuna Hjorring, JVW FC and Glasgow City (current club).
SAFA.net: Your message on Women’s Month?
JVW: Women are powerful and strong. We are able to accomplish anything we put our minds to. Be yourself, be a leader, be courageous and strong, take risks and trust that you can achieve anything you want.
SAFA.net: What is your take on the introduction of the CAF Women’s club championships?
JVW: I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for female footballers on the African Continent. It allows players, teams and clubs an opportunity to grow and be inspired to compete at a higher level. This means the National Teams would be strengthened and made up by players that are consistently being challenged in the game. We are always looking for a way for women’s football to improve and I believe this is a perfect opportunity for us to see the improvement through such competitions.
SAFA.net: Is Africa making strides in closing the gap with the rest of the world?
JVW: I believe that Africa has quality and phenomenal talent that clubs abroad are benefitting from because of the lack of high-level competitions in our respective countries. I believe that we are slowly moving towards closing the gap by taking initiatives of having more competitions in place such as the CAF Champions League. But we still have a long way to go to close the gap with the best in the world.