19 October 2023 – Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has named the team to face DR Congo in two 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic qualifiers this month and long-serving former captain Janine van Wyk is part of the squad.
Ellis told the nation a few days ago that Van Wyk would regain her place in the Sasol-sponsored side and the two matches will be used as a send-off for the much-loved defender, who is set to bring the curtain down on her glittering career after the games.
The Banyana Banyana coach made the announcement during the Sasol League National Championships at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Thursday (19 October 2023) and she said “it is important to say thank you” to players like Van Wyk for the amount of work, sacrifice and dedication they have given to the country.
“Janine has led the team with aplomb for so many years and she did it while wearing her heart on her sleeve. I used to say that if I had 10 Janines on the pitch…….. she was someone that never gave up and that still resonates in the national team, of never giving up,” Ellis said.
“If you look at what Janine has done, not just for the national team, but for women’s football in the country, I think it is only fair that she gets her flowers.”
Van Wyk has earned 183 international caps during a gloried career and should Ellis play her in the two matches, she will become the most capped player, male or female, on the continent.
Ellis said she has kept a close eye on DR Congo and will relay as much information as possible to her players.
“We also know what their strengths are and we have to make sure that we take control of the game. I think the first 20 minutes will be key, and we have to make sure we do not concede.”
Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorship Nozipho Mbatha congratulated the players that have been selected to the South African senior women’s team and wished the team well ahead of the two assignments.
“We would like to congratulate everyone who has been selected to play against Democratic Republic of Congo. The last time the team qualified for the Olympic Games women’s football tournament, it was in 2016 and we believe that the chosen team can change that. We encourage them to keep at it and go do their best. We are all standing behind you for we know you are a team that is known for performing the impossible,” said Mbatha.
Banyana Banyana will face the DR Congo in the first leg away from home on 25 October 2023 and then host the Congolese in South Africa on Monday 30 October 2023.
Tickets to the match at home at Orlando Stadium are free and can be collected from the stadium. The tickets will be available for collection at the Soweto venue from Thursday 26 October 2023.