Bafana Bafana international Bongokuhle Hlongwane became the latest South African export, when he secured his transfer to Major League Soccer (MLS) side Minnesota United on Wednesday.
Hlongwane will now be lost to Maritzburg United, and join Minnesota United as they prepare for the next MLS season.
Hlongwane was key for Maritzburg United
Hlongwane has been a revelation for Maritzburg since breaking into their first team a couple of seasons ago. His displays as a powerful winger on either side of the pitch, had even caught the eye of the national team coach Hugo Broos who quickly made him a regular. He has since become undroppable for Bafana Bafana and his rise has seen him catch the eye of the big three of DStv Premiership.
Hlongwane was reported to be on the verge of joining Mamelodi Sundowns from Maritzburg in the January transfer window. In fact, this was not the first window that the the 21-year-old was thought to have all but completed a move to Sundowns in. During the previous window it was said that the speedy winger had all but agreed to join the Tshwane side in the same deal that saw Thabiso Kutumela move to the country’s capital.
Club denied links to Sundowns
The same was then said by a different publication this time around, with its sources adamant that the player was close to a move to Sundowns during the current transfer window. Doubt was then plunged on that move when Maritzburg United Chairperson Farook Kadodia came out to state that the players intentions were to reject any local move and look for an opportunity abroad instead.
Already a two-time history maker at Minnesota United!
In the end it would be Minnesota United who would win Hlongwane’s signature, and in doing so Hlongwane immediately entered the club’s history books twice. He will effectively become their first ever South African player, as well as the club’s first ever u22 initiative signing, when the league kicks off. Not bad for a start before a start at a new club huh?