Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath is confident Bongokuhle Hlongwane’s pace will be a game-changer for the Major League Soccer side after signing the Bafana Bafana winger on a three-year deal.
The club on Wednesday announced the acquisition of the 21-year-old who joins them from Maritzburg United.
“Minnesota United announced today [Wednesday] the club has signed South African international Bongokuhle Hlongwane, via transfer from South African Premier Division side Maritzburg United, to a three-year contract with a one-year club option. 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,” the club said in a statement.
Heath noted that the Bafana star “has explosive pace,” adding 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 it’s 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, raw talent and football intelligence are impressive. We’re pleased to sign him, we know there was competition to get him, and so we are pleased he’s a Loon,” Heath added.
Hlongwane made his PSL debut three years ago and established himself as a regular for the Pietermaritzburg side. The pacey winger is an integral part of Hugo Broos’ Bafana rebuild and has two goals in six appearances in national colours.