Father’s Day is an annual date to recognise and celebrate an immeasurable role played by fathers and father figures throughout the world. It is a day to rejoice fatherhood and male parenting. Apart from all private occasions during this auspicious day celebrated on a third Sunday of June — when children pamper their fathers by presenting them with fine gifts, message cards, neckties or any other presents – there will be a number of social and cultural societies using this day to highlight the significant task played by all fathers and father figures in nurturing children and building stronger societies. Fathers serve a momentous task in their children’s livelihood, and one of those dearly-regarded fathers is Banyana Banyana captain Janine Van Wyk’s dad, Dannie Van Wyk.
South Africa’s women’s national team captain and central defender also popularly known as ‘Booth,’ describes her father as an individual who, as you might expect, took up a supportive role in her career when growing up. Janine says her father still continues to be a great pillar that fuels her during in and outside the soccer field. “He is always on the side of the playing field supporting me and always encourages me to do my best,” says the country’s number 5 shirt bearer.
Dannie Wyk added that Janine grew up in an environment that made it easy for her to inescapably opt for playing football due to her surroundings. “She fell in love with the game at an early age when she started playing with her cousins, and also her uncle played a huge role stirring towards being involved in the game,” said her proud father. The Mondeor-JVW FC (Janine Van Wyk Football Club) central defender started playing at the age of six when she joined a club with her cousins and that is when her devotion to the beautiful game gradually grew
“I enjoyed the game and never stopped playing,” added the former Palace Super Falcons star. Her connection with her father has stirred an encouraging role in aiding her to maintain a key role on and off the field. “My father and I have always been close and he has supported me throughout my football career,” said the Banyana Banyana skipper, adding that he always tells her how proud he is of her. In 2001 Janine joined her first ladies football club, Springs Homesweepers, and made her national team debut in 2005.
The sweeping defender founded the JVW Schools Soccer League in 2012, as part of women’s football development, and she continues to be hailed as one of the trendsetters in the South African football development fraternity. She went on to buy a franchise, the Mondeor-JVW Football Club, in the Sasol League in which top performers from her school league feature. Mondeor-JVW FC is mostly made up of girls recruited from the JVW Schools League and includes Janine herself after she moved from Palace Super Falcons.
When asked what makes her father standout, she didn’t hesitate to point out that her father’s gentleness, patience and his party sense of humour makes him the best father around. Although her father believes that football is the only sporting code she displayed genuine fondness towards, she believes that hockey could have been a field to opt for. “I loved playing the game and I made my district colours, but opted to play the game I love most. If I could sing, I would have opted for that too, maybe,” she joked.