Janine Van Wyk is out of the FIFA 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand following an injury suffered before the tournament.
In a press conference on June 5, South Africa confirmed that Janine Van Wyk is unlikely to recover from an injury in time to feature at the global showpiece and has been left out of their 36-member preliminary squad to the tournament as a result.
It’s agonizing news for Janine Van Wyk, who is two matches away from becoming the highest-capped male or female player on the continent, captained Banyana Banyana to a first-ever glory at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in July 2022.
“I have sustained an injury that I feel would impact my chances of performing at the highest level that is required to make the World Cup squad,” said the 183-capped long-standing defender.
“I have to turn down the call-up with a heavy heart, but also knowing that I am doing what is best for the team.”
While veteran defender Janine Van Wyk was the notable omission, 37-year-old 2008 African Women’s Player of the Year winner Noko Matlou, as well as 16-year-old JVW FC midfielder Robyn Moodaly, were the surprise inclusions on the provisional list.
As Desiree Ellis faces the headache of pruning the 36-woman provisional squad to 23, she admitted: “It’s most probably one of the most difficult selections I’ve ever had to make.”
“As a coach, you always say players must raise their hand and make it difficult. And it has been very difficult (selecting the preliminary squad). Congratulations to the players that have made the preliminary squad.
“We are always saying players must raise their hands, and many of them have raised their hands. But this is the group of players that we think we can select from, and they have raised their hands.
“We are going to do a final selection as well as announce the final 23 plus three. That is even going to be more difficult, but this is the group of players that we think will do the job for us.”
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Banyana Banyana will start their campaign on the global stage against Sweden in Wellington, New Zealand on July 23 before squaring up against Argentina three days later and later Italy on August 2, 2023.
Before, the African champions will end their build-up against fellow Women’s World Cup-bound Costa Rica on July 15.
Banyana Banyana squad
Goalkeepers: Andile Dlamini, Kaylin Swart, Regirl Ngobeni, Kebotseng Moletsane, Asa Rabalao
Defenders: Asanda Hadebe Karabo Dhlamini Cimone Sauls Lebohang Ramalepe Tiisetso Makhubela Lonathemba Mhlongo Bambanani Mbane Bongeka Gamede
Midfielders: Thubelihle Shamase, Kholosa Biyana, Thalea Smidt, Refiloe Jane, Sibulele Holweni, Linda Motlhalo, Nomvula Kgoale, Robyn Moodaly, Amogelang Motau
Forwards: Nicole Michael, Gabriela Salgado, Sphumelele Shamase, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Noxolo Cesane, Melinda Kgadiete, Nthabiseng Majiya, Lelona Daweti, Wendy Shongwe, Ntombifikile Ndlovu Hildah Magaia, Thembi Kgatlana