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Van Wyk – I Wasn’t Feeling Entitled When Leaving Banyana Camp

Janine Van Wyk believes that her leaving the Banyana Banyana camp during the Olympic Games qualifiers against DR Congo was justified, as there were promises made to her in that camp and were not kept. 

Van Wyk was meant to break Ahmed Mohamed’s 11-year-old record as the highest capped African player of all time, needing to feature in those two matches before retiring from international football.

However she didn’t come on the field in the first leg of that encounter and left camp upon returning home before the second leg. 

The former Glasgow City and Huston Dash player, after explaining what happened in that camp to the South African Football Journalists Association (SAFJA), went on to say that she wasn’t being entitled as there had been a long build-up to her achieving the feat, dating back to the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

She added that she is still going to tell her side of the story, as she also experienced some mental difficulties during the time. 

“It’s all about timing and look I didn’t know about the record until lately about a year or two ago, just before AFCON actually,” Van Wyk told SAFJA.

“Then I knew that I would need four caps to reach the record and if I had played regularly, I would have probably got it at the AFCON 2022, where I didn’t play much. I had one game, where I played and I needed three caps only thereafter.

“Already those caps that we just spoke about at AFCON, going into camp, it was already promised to me that at AFCON whether I start or don’t start it would happen. And you know, when something gets promised to you, you expect it.

“Of course, it’s difficult because you see how games play out and you know whoever is playing in that position is doing well and the coach has to make a decision like putting the team first, which I totally understand.

“So it already started then, knowing that you could get those four caps already within that tournament. Then you already started to think ‘okay, if I had to play in the tournament, what would my career look like thereafter’?

“Because would I have prolonged my career until the next following year, until now to receive the two caps or retire or would have retired on a very high note at AFCON, had I received the four caps.

“So it all played since then and walking out of the camp it’s something that I wouldn’t have done. I don’t expect anyone to actually walk out of camp, if things don’t go their way but there’s so much that has happened.

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“And I’m not going to touch up on it now because it will eventually come out. But there’s so much that happened since AFCON and everything else building up until my last two matches that I felt mentally challenged, mentally drained due to many reasons, and many reasons that people don’t know about.

“So of course people will say ‘Janine feels entitled that she deserved these two caps and so on’. And people just don’t know the entire story, which I’m okay with because people will assume things happened or assume this is the way and only look at the factor right now and not what has previously happened.

“So as I said, ‘I’m not going to give you much because I am busy writing something’. I am doing something and that story will come out eventually, but my story will come out eventually and I just don’t think it’s the right time to say or tell it now.”

Lethabo Kganyago
Lethabo Kganyago
Lethabo Kganyago is currently working as a web and newspaper writer for iDiski Times. This award-winning sports journalist covers the Limpopo area and also specialises in coverage of women's football, including Banayana Banyana.