Janine van Wyk ended 2016 as the most capped South African footballer across both genders.

The 30-year-old defender and current captain of the Women’s National Team made her debut in 2005 and earned her 125th cap in March last year. Van Wyk is not new to the international stage. She was an integral part of Team SA at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

It wasn’t a short or easy road to national colours and international stardom. Her high school, Hoërskool Alberton, didn’t offer soccer as a girl’s sport, which prompted her to start the JVW Girls Football Development Programme in 2012.

The programme now consists of a high school league, catering for 100 girls’ teams, with 2 200 young female athletes all playing football. Van Wyk’s talents have a global following. She was recently recruited to play for the esteemed American team, Houston Dash, a move she describes as “an opportunity of a lifetime”.

The Banyana Banyana star may be playing overseas, but she is nowhere near done representing her country.

And if the past is anything to go by, van Wyk may very well break the 200 cap mark for South Africa in record time.

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