Hlongwane: Why I said NO to Mamelodi Sundowns

On Wednesday, Minnesota United FC announced that the club has signed Bafana Bafana international Bongokuhle Hlongwane from DStv Premiership side Maritzburg United on a three-year contract with an option for a further year.

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Hlongwane will be the club’s first U22 initiative signing and will join the Loons pending a physical and receipt of his P1 Visa and ITC. Additionally, he will occupy an international spot on Minnesota’s roster.

Hlongwane has since revealed to KickOff that the prospect of playing overseas was too enticing to turn down despite Sundowns leading the local race for his signature.

“There were teams in South Africa that were interested,” Hlongwane tells KickOff.

“Mamelodi Sundowns were leading the race. I signed for Minnesota United because I wanted to realise my dream of playing overseas.”

“Ngijabulor impela [I am so happy],” Hlongwane added. “I want to achieve a lot but I need to work because I don’t yet know the challenges I will face there.

“But okuhle kodwa engikufisayo [all good things I wish to achieve overseas].”

The 21-year-old forward joins Minnesota United after spending his professional career with Maritzburg United in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Bongokuhle Hlongwane made his pro debut at age 18 and has eight goals and seven assists. He was nominated for the South American Premier Division Player of the Season award for the 2020/21 season.

Internationally, he made his national team debut in 2019 and has two goals in six appearances.

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Minnesota United finished fifth in the Western Conference last season, losing to MLS Cup finalists Portland Timbers in Round 1 of the MLS Cup playoffs.

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BONGOKUHLE HLONGWANE STATS AND FACTS:

Name: Bongokuhle Hlongwane 
Position: Forward
Date of birth: 20, June 2000
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 75kg
Last club: Maritzburg United
Birthplace: South Africa
Citizenship: South Africa

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