South Africa's Van Wyk retires as most-capped African player

South Africa captain Janine van Wyk retired from international duty on Monday after becoming the most-capped player in African football history,

Van Wyk was substituted eight minutes into her 185th and final game for South Africa -- a 2-0 win over Burkina Faso to secure qualification to the Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON).

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"This has been by far one of the hardest decisions of my life," Van Wyk told Safa.net on Oct. 16 when she announced her decision to retire.

"This decision has always been one I have wanted to make on MY terms. And this is my time to say goodbye to football as a player while I watch the next generation shine.

"It has been my greatest honour and privilege to play this beautiful game, in particular playing for my country, which has and always will be the greatest gift football has ever offered me."

Van Wyk made her national team debut in 2005 against Nigeria in the African Women's Championship and led South Africa to their first Women's World Cup participation in 2019.

She has also twice represented South Africa at the Olympics Games -- first at London 2012 and again at Rio 2016.

Van Wyk captained the Banyana Banyana to their first WAFCON victory in 2022, defeating hosts Morocco 2-1 in the final.

At club level, Van Wyk began her career at Moroka Swallows before moving to Palace Super Falcons, where she won three straight South African league titles.

In 2013, Van Wyk created her own club called JVW F.C, who she played for and at one time served as player-coach. She became the first South African to play in the NWSL in 2017 when she joined Houston Dash -- her move opening the door for the likes of Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana, the latter of which now plays for Racing Louisville

She later enjoyed spells at Fortuna Hjørring and Glasgow City.