Cayman: I still have a few goals to achieve with Belgium

28 May 2021
  • Janice Cayman plays for Olympique Lyonnais and Belgium

  • Jointly holds national-team appearances record with Aline Zeler (111 caps)

  • Top-scored in European qualifying for Women's World Cup 2019

One of the leading exponents of the women’s game in Belgium, 32-year-old Janice Cayman has often been a peripheral figure for Olympique Lyonnais since joining the club in 2019 (16 games/4 goals). Her talent, versatility and experience nevertheless appear to be highly valued by Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, with the club recently extending her contact.

The aforementioned attributes could prove invaluable for a huge game for the club on 30 May. Second in the French championship, they will be going up against leaders Paris Saint-Germain in a rescheduled fixture. Trailing the capital side by a point, OL need to win on Sunday to go into the final matchday with a chance to retain the league title they have won for the past 14 seasons.

A first for PSG?

"Paris Saint-Germain are making it very tough for us this season, and it hurt to be eliminated by them in this season’s Champions League [quarter-finals]. But we have this game to redeem ourselves somewhat, and we’ll strive to win it because our hunger for this title is the same as ever," the player told FIFA.com.

And while top spot is far from assured for Lyon, Cayman has already claimed one first place this season, much to her delight. For the first time in their history, Belgium’s women’s team finished top of a qualifying group for a major tournament, in this case UEFA EURO 2022, which takes place in England. Indeed, team coach Ives Serneels described it as "an historic performance".

"I agree with his assessment as we really had a great campaign. We had a decisive match against Switzerland that we simply had to win. A lot was expected of us and we were able to deliver," she said. "We came unstuck in our bid to make the 2019 World Cup, so it seems we’ve learned from our mistakes!"

Although Belgium have qualified twice before for the EURO, they are still chasing a maiden appearance on the world stage. In the race to France 2019, they missed out on direct qualification by a single goal, scored in the fourth minute of added time by Portugal, during the group stage.

Then in the play-offs against Switzerland, they were denied on the away-goals rule after the pair played out two draws. "It was very difficult to take, but it's out of our system now, as we’ve shown with our EURO qualification!"

BREDA, NETHERLANDS - JULY 20: Janice Cayman of Belgium celebrates with team mates after scoring her team's second goal of the game during the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 Group A match between Norway and Belgium at Rat Verlegh Stadion on July 20, 2017 in Breda, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Did you know…?

Normally deployed in midfield or even defence for Lyon, Janice Cayman can also play up front. She amply demonstrated her finishing skills by top scoring during European qualifying for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ with 10 goals (and four assists).

Two EUROs on the horizon

"We’ve made a great deal of progress in recent years. A generation has come of age, while talented young players have come through to strengthen the squad. Today, we have a nice mix of youth and experience," she said of the Red Flames, who currently occupy 18th place in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking. That said, they still have a long way to go to emulate their male counterparts, who head the global standings.

"I don't know if you could call it a trademark, but what both women and men have in common in Belgium is that they play the game with as much pleasure as passion. We really enjoy ourselves on the pitch," she said. "It’s true that we have a great men's team, and we’re trying to capitalise on their positive dynamics. Both teams have EUROs to look forward to, and I hope we can both fly our colours high in our respective tournaments."

And those colours are something the Braaschaat native has long been associated with, being Belgium’s most-capped player along with Aline Zeler, who hung up her boots in 2019. "It is both an honour and a source of pride, and I'd like to win even more! 111 games is a huge thing for me," she said, "but I don't think it makes me special in the team. If I inspire respect, it's just the same as a player with one cap doing so. The merit is the same."

"That said, it does indicate that I've been here for a while. I got to witness and be part of the development of Belgian women’s football, and it was a privilege," she added, before concluding: "But it's not over! I still have a few goals to achieve and above all a dream: to participate in a World Cup!"