Minnesota United on Wednesday announced that they have 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 one thing we’ve spoken about is getting someone with game-changing pace on this roster,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian 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 competition to get him and so we are pleased he’s a Loon.”
The 21-year-old center forward joins Minnesota United after spending his professional career with Maritzburg United. He made his pro debut at age 18 and has eight goals and seven assists. He scored his first professional goal in June of 2019 against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila. Hlongwane was nominated for the South American Premier Division Player of the Season award for the 2020-21 season. Internationally, the South-African international made his national team debut in 2019 and has two goals in six appearances. He scored his first international goal in 2021 against Uganda and scored the game-winning goal against Ghana in a World Cup Qualifier.
Get tickets to the first five regular season home games in 2022 now before single game tickets go on sale in February with the First Five ticket package. Check our website at mnufc.com for more information and follow Minnesota United’s social channels for regular updates on the club.
Transaction: Minnesota United signs Bongokuhle Hlongwane to a three-year deal with a one-year club option.
Date of birth: 06.20.2000 (21 years old)
Weight: 165 lbs
Last Club: Maritzburg United
Birthplace: South Africa
Citizenship: South Africa