The South African Football Association (SAFA) and Sasol, proud sponsor of Banyana Banyana, have congratulated the team’s captain, Janine van Wyk who was named the Sport Personality of the Year at the annual Gauteng Sports Awards held at Silver Star Casino this past weekend (Sunday, 11 October).
“For a long time women footballers have not received this kind of recognition and the award won by Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk is full proof that we are making strides when it comes to women’s football. We would like to take this opportunity as the Association to congratulate her on this great achievement which we hope will serve to inspire current players and those of the generations to come that hard work pays off if you believe,” said SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble.
“We are honoured that one of our own has been reached this big milestone and we are confident that there will be more to come for our women footballers.”
His words were echoed by Sasol, the sponsors Banyana Banyana.
“We at Sasol congratulate Janine on receiving this most deserved and prestigious award. The accolade is certainly a great boost for her as she leads the national side in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic qualifier match in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday (18 October). We wish her and the rest of the team all the best, and have no doubt they will represent the country well.” said Richard Hughes, Group Sponsorship Manager at Sasol.
“I’m absolutely lost for words. I can’t describe this amazing feeling. All my sacrifices, time and efforts paid off,” van Wyk posted on Twitter immediately after the news of the announcement sank in.
Having made her national team debut in 2005, van Wyk has many sporting achievements under her belt. These include representing the Banyana Banyana side at the 2012 Olympics in London and also at the African Women’s Championships in 2012.
The stalwart, who has captained the national women’s football team since 2013, has not only led her team to victory in countless matches, but is also making a difference in the lives of young aspiring footballers at her soccer academy for girls.
As a youngster, van Wyk struggled to play football as this sporting code was not offered at her school. This however did not stop her from pursuing her passion for the beautiful game. She has since played a pivotal role in elevating women’s football in South Africa, and is on a mission to promote the mass participation of women in the sport.