Hlongwane Leaves Maritzburg, Sign 3 year deal with MLS Club Minnesota
Maritzburg United announced the departure of star attacker Bongokuhle Hlongwane to Major League Soccer (MLS) team Minnesota United on a three-year agreement that includes a one-year club option.
Hlongwane is the club’s first U22 initiative signing. He will join the Loons upon undergoing a medical and physical test, as well as receiving a P1 Visa and an ITC.
The tall forward will fill an international position on Minnesota’s squad.
“It’s been a pleasure to witness Bongokuhle’s growth both as a player and as a young man since he was identified and recruited into the club’s youth structures four years ago,” Maritzburg chairman Farook Kadodia commented in a statement released.
“He has flourished into a world class striker and it’s credit to Bongokuhle that he has made the most of his opportunities and also to our coaches for helping him on his path.”
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Head coach Adrian Heath is thrilled to have acquired the 21-year-old’s services.
“The one thing we’ve spoken about is getting someone with game-changing pace on this roster,” said Heath.
“He has absolutely explosive pace, but he also looks to combine and build with his teammates. We love his raw talents, but his football IQ is exceptional.
“Ask any defender what scares them and who the hardest players to mark are and inevitably its someone with intelligent movement and pace and we feel he possesses both of these qualities.
“He’s got huge upside; he’s now broken into the South African national team and we’ve spoken to his national team coach and he says it’s only the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come.
“He will be a work in progress for the club, but his physical attributes, his raw talent and football intelligence are impressive.
“We’re pleased to sign him, we know there was a competition to get him and so we are pleased he’s a Loon.”