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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

Retiring Banyana defender Van Wyk gears up for swansong

Banyana are favourites to win the clash against the DRC, but Van Wyk says they should not undermine their opponents.

As Janine van Wyk embarks on her last journey as a Banyana Banyana player, the defender says she is overwhelmed with a lot of emotions going into the first leg of the Caf Olympics qualifiers against Democratic Republic of Congo at Stade des Martyrs on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Banyana coach Ellis confident of getting victory away in DRC

Van Wyk announced her retirement from football last week, with the Banyana defender having been part of the senior national women’s team for over close to two decades.

She will close down the curtain on her sterling career with Banyana in their important clash against the DRC, and she says it is vital for the team to qualify for Olympics.

“A lot of emotions, knowing that 18-years with the national team has come to an end. It’s been an honour and privilege the green and gold. But I’m also excited to see what the future holds for me outside of the national team set-up. So, yeah, it’s two games that I’m going to try to enjoy each and every moment. Embrace the moment, get to play and be with my coaches and just loving moment of being with the team,” said Van Wyk.

“It’s a very important game, the start of the Olympic qualifiers. Something that we missed out on previously. Being African champions, having done extremely well at the World Cup, it’s almost expected that we qualify for the Olympics and to feature in another major tournament. It’s the only way we can improve as a team, as a nation and the football in the league.

ALSO READ: Banyana coach Ellis plots to beat DRC in Olympic qualifiers

Banyana are favourites to win the clash against the DRC, but Van Wyk says they should not undermine their opponents.

“We have to come out and not underestimate the opponent that is ranked 111th in the Fifa rankings. But just take the 90 minutes, give our best and try to get the best result that we can,” she added.

“We are expecting a very physical match, we are coming to Africa and everyone gives their best against South Africa. They are playing at their home ground, so they are not going to hold back. They are going to try and come with full force and power against us, that’s what we expect.”

The second leg of this tie will be played at Orlando Stadium on Monday, 30 October.

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