15 July 2020 – Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk has become the latest South African woman footballer to find a home abroad.
Van Wyk is now on the books of Scottish Champions, Glasgow City after she penned a one year deal.
She joins a growing list of Banyana Banyana players who are plying their trade overseas, among others, Thembi Kgatlana and Jermaine Seoposenwe (both Portugal), Nothando Vilakazi and Amanda Mthandi (both Spain), Linda Motlhalo (Sweden), Bambanani Mbane (Belarus), Ode Fulutudilu (Finland), Refiloe Jane (Italy), Letago Madiba and Rachel Sebati (Turkey) as well as Andisiwe Mgcoyi and Zanele Nhlapo (Albania), while some are spread across the USA.
Van Wyk is most capped player of all time in South Africa – male and female – with 170 caps to her name.
She is a two-time Olympian after she was selected in the two squads that participated in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympic Games, captaining the team in the latter tournament.
Van Wyk also led the side in Banyana Banyana’s maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup, which took place in France.
Welcoming her to the club, Glasgow City Head Coach, Scott Booth had this to say:
“We are absolutely delighted to bring Janine van Wyk to our club. She has incredible experience and I feel this will be key for us this season. Janine captained her nation at the 2019 World Cup and is their record cap holder. I know that she will 100% lead by example and fit in to our already talented squad.”
City Club Manager Laura Montgomery also added her voice to the new signing.
“If we are talking about players who are known across the world, Janine is in that category. Her record is incredible on and off the pitch in what she has done for girls and women’s sport in her own country as well as in her promotion of equality. Her jersey is on display at the FIFA Museum next to the other top female players in the world, this is the calibre of player and individual that she is. At Glasgow City, we are all about championing women and girls and Janine very much fits into that mould. Her footballing CV is very impressive and we are delighted she has chosen to continue her journey with our club.”
Van Wyk’s signing comes after she had just recovered from a knee injury that cut short her career at Fortuna Hjorring in Denmark before it even started – she never played a match for them.
She becomes the third signing for Glasgow City, after Zaneta Wyne from Klepp in Norway and Krystina Freda from Cypriot giants Apollon Ladies.
The Banyana Banyana captain could feature in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, with Glasgow facing German champions Wolfsburg in the quarterfinal scheduled for 21 August in Spain.
SAFA Media caught up with Janine shortly after the club announced her signing.
How are you feeling after this announcement?
JVW: I am extremely excited for this move to Glasgow City. I am looking forward to go extend my knowledge and insight on the game and hoping to add value to the current Scottish Champions.
Did you expect this?
JVW: Honestly, it all happened so fast. It was not part of my future plans but I guess things change over time and I am one to believe that everything happens for a reason.
How did the move come about?
JVW: Funny enough, the conversation started over a Twitter DM. Laura Montgomery (Glasgow City Manager) reached out to me and asked if I was still interested in playing football abroad. Without any hesitation, I showed immediate interest, and before I knew it I was sitting with documents in front of me to sign to join the club.
Several Banyana Banyana players have signed for overseas clubs recently, more surprising is that it happens during the coronavirus pandemic. What can you attribute that to? Gains from the World Cup, perhaps?
JVW: I have always believed that South African female footballers were talented enough to sign contracts abroad but we weren’t as recognized as we are today, which I believe stems from Banyana Banyana competing at the World Cup. I do also think the Corona pandemic has given us no choice but to look elsewhere so we can continue being active as footballers and play the game we love, as we are currently uncertain when football will return in our beloved country.
In your view can we expect more overseas moves?
JVW: There are endless opportunities for players to sign contracts abroad. It would be great to see more players go experience playing the game outside the country. I believe more signings and moves might happen, more so if we don’t get clarification on what is going to happen with the Women’s National League here at home.
Personally, this is amazing for you after recovering from a knee injury…
JVW: I am absolutely over the moon that I have been granted this opportunity. It’s tough to recover from a serious injury at age 33 and still think one would be signed by a top club abroad. I am ecstatic and grateful that Glasgow still believes that I could add value to their club after being sidelined for 6-7 months.
After cutting short your stay in Denmark did you ever see yourself back overseas?
JVW: I honestly didn’t. I had my heart and mind set on playing for JVW FC in the National League, but like I mentioned, things change and I am just happy that I will be playing football again.
What would you say to other players who aspire to go abroad?
JVW: Nothing worth having comes easy. If you think playing abroad is a joyride then you are wrong. It’s a tough journey being away from your loved ones, being in a strange, unfamiliar environment, adapting to a different culture and of course performing under pressure every single day. You have to be really strong-minded to be at your best when you want to play overseas. Once you have the belief that you can play there, when you get the opportunity you are also going to need staying power, that is withstand every challenge coming your way.
Your club, JVW FC, has gained promotion into the SAFA Women’s National League, you must have been looking forward to that, now this. Will they be affected by your departure or how will things work?
JVW: JVW FC has been doing extremely well without me being physically present for the past three years. I am 100% confident that they will continue to be at their best while I am away. We have a group of people who are always striving for success and give their best no matter what. Deep down I am sad that I will be missing out on playing in their first ever National League appearance, but I know that every one of them support my decision and will continue to work hard and make sure they uphold the JVW brand with pride and dignity.
You will be or could be playing Champions League football as early as next month, excited?
JVW: Excited is not even the word. I think I am as close to feeling the way I felt after qualifying for the World Cup. Not many players get to play in the UEFA Champions League and I am hoping that I get this opportunity with my new club. It will honestly be a huge achievement for me. I am really looking forward to it.
What do you know about your new team? What can they expect from you, and what are you hoping to gain from them?
JVW: I know that they have won the league and been crowned Champions 13 times. I also know that they are in the quarterfinals of the EUFA Champions League. Most of the players are Scottish and they recently signed an American striker. I will definitely do some more research on them and get to know the club better before I arrive. I guess what they expect of me is to bring as much experience as I can to the squad and rely on my leadership to guide others around me.
You have been to the USA, to Denmark and now you are going to Scotland, are you expecting things to be different? If so, how?
JVW: I guess every country has a different style of football and rely on different qualities of their players. I am not sure yet what the style of the Scottish teams are but I believe they will rely more on the tactical aspect of the game rather, unlike the Americans who rely on the physicality of the players. I am looking forward to see what style they go for and I guess I am ready for the challenge.
Lastly, what is your next move? Visa, departure, preseason, start of the league, jersey number?
JVW: I have completed my Visa application and now a few tests that need to be done to ensure that I am healthy and ready to compete. I am not sure just yet which jersey number I will be given but I definitely hope it would be #5. If they want me to be at my best then they will make sure to give me MY NUMBER 5!!
FACT FILE OF GLASCOW CITY
- Glasgow City Football Club is a women’s football team based in Glasgow
- They play in SWPL 1 (Scottish Women’s Premier League), the top division of women’s football in Scotland
- The club has competed in the UEFA Women’s Cup and UEFA Women’s Champions League
- They have a reserve team and youth teams.
- Glasgow City has won the most Premier League titles and the most Scottish Cups in Scotland since 2000
- In 2016, Glasgow City won their tenth Scottish Women’s Premier League title in a row, a Scottish record
- They surpassed the previous record of nine achieved by the men’s teams of Celtic and Rangers
- Glasgow City Football Club was formed in 1998 by Laura Montgomery and Carol Anne Stewart
- They play in orange and black.
- The club play their home matches at Petershill Park in the Springburn district in the north of Glasgow
- City completed a domestic clean sweep in 2012, winning every domestic game that season on the way to claiming the treble
- They completed a second consecutive domestic treble in 2013, stretching their undefeated league record to 111 matches
- During the 2014 season, Glasgow City suffered a first league defeat in over six years,but still secured an eighth successive SWPL title and third successive treble
- After a superb 5–4 aggregate win against FC Zurich, City became the first Scottish team to reach the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals in November 2014.
- Record win: 29–0 against FC Kilmarnock, May 2010
- Record defeat: 0–10 against Turbine Potsdam in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, 2 November 2011
- Most goals in all competitions: Leanne Ross, 250
- Most league goals in a season: Leanne Ross, 42 (during the 2010 season)
- Most goals in a season: Leanne Ross, 54 (during the 2010 season)
- Most goals in a game: Debbie McWhinnie, 12 against Motherwell in the Scottish Women’s Cup, February 2004
- Highest European home attendance: 1,785 against Paris Saint-Germain, 22 March 2015
Scottish Women’s Premier League
- Winners (14): 2004–05, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup
- Winners (6): 2008–09, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Scottish Women’s Football First Division
- Winners (1): 1998–99
- National 5-A-Side
- Winners (2): 1999–00, 2000–01
Umbro Cup (Manchester)
- Winners (2): 2007, 2009 (shared)
Reebok Trophy (Mansfield)
- Winners (1): 1999
- Scottish Sports Awards Amateur Performance of the Year: 2011
- GCC Glasgow Team of the Year: 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014
- Glaswegian Team of the Year: 2009
- Sports Council of Glasgow Performance Team of the Year: 2010
JANINE VAN WYK FACTFILE:
- DFENDER (5)
- DOB: 17 April 1987
- Birthplace: Alberton, Gauteng
- Club: Houston Dash (USA)
- Previous Clubs: Springs Home Sweepers, Moroka Swallows, Palace Super Falcons, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, JVW FC (Johannesburg), Houston Dash (USA), Fortuna Hjørring (Denmark)
- Current League: Scottish Women’s Premier League (Scotland)
- Caps: 170
- Highest capped female player in CAF
- Banyana Debut: vs Nigeria in 2005 (International Friendly)
- Top Honours:
- 2006 AWCON 3rd Place
- 2008 AWCON 2nd Place
- 2010 AWCON 3rd Place
- 2010 SAFA Player of the Year, 2011 COSAFA Cup Player of the Tournament
- 2012 London Olympics
- 2012 AWCON 2nd place (Scored 1 Goal)
- 2016 Rio Olympics captain
- 2016 AWCON 4th place and named in CAF Best XI
- 2017 contracted to NWSL
- 2018 Cyprus Cup 6th place
- 2018 COSAFA Cup Champions
- 2018: Highest capped football player in South Africa
- 2018 AWCON 2nd Place and named to CAF best XI
- 2019 COSAFA Cup Champions
- 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup