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Major League soccer will be boosted by the acquisition of two South Africans

Minnesota United FC have signed 21-year-old Bafana Bafana striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Minnesota United FC have signed 21-year-old Bafana Bafana striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Jan 6, 2022

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The top-flight American league, the MLS (Major League Soccer), will be boosted by the acquisition of two South Africans ahead of the start of the 2022 season in February.

Minnesota United FC have signed 21-year-old Bafana Bafana striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane on a three-year contract from PSL Premiership club Maritzburg United.

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Another MLS outfit St Louis City SC named former Bafana Bafana defender Bradley Carnell as their head coach. Carnell is no stranger in MLS circles after joining New York Red Bulls in 2017 as an assistant coach and later as interim head coach in September 2020.

The strong-running Hlongwane has made a huge impression on Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath.

“The one thing we have spoken about is getting someone with game-changing pace on this roster,” said Heath.

“The one thing we have 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.

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"Ask any defender what scares them and who the hardest players to mark are, and inevitably, it is someone with intelligent movement and pace. We feel he possesses both qualities.

"He’s got a huge upside; he has broken into the South African national team. We have spoken to the national team coach, and he says it’s only the tip of the iceberg for what is to come.

"He will be a work in progress for the club, but his physical attributes, his raw talent and football intelligence are impressive.

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"We’re pleased to sign him; we know there was keen competition to get him, and so we are pleased he’s a Loon.”

Hlongwane made his Bafana Bafana debut in 2019, and since then, has scored two goals in six appearances. He scored his first international goal in 2021 against Uganda, and the other was the game-winning goal against Ghana in a World Cup qualifier last year.

The 44-year-old Bradley who was capped 42 times for Bafana Bafana has extensive playing experience in the Bundesliga. He was pleased to land the post and was looking forward to building a strong team for the franchise.

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“I am grateful to be a part of the St Louis City family, a team where I can help build something special in a city that is already so passionate about soccer,” said Carnell.

“Lutz’s (the sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel) vision matches my ambitions of building a competitive team through the heavy use of data, technology and a keen focus on individual player development.

“I am looking forward to establishing a team that reflects St. Louis – one that’s diverse, hardworking and community-led. I am thrilled to help create the future of the sport in an incredible soccer city.”

Lutz Pfannenstiel said Carnell's experience in the MSL will prove to be an advantage.

“We can honestly say that we got our top candidate for the club’s first head coach position and wanted to get him on board early given the integral role he’ll play in building our first team,” said Pfannenstiel.

“We knew it was important to have someone who understood the ins and outs of the MLS, as well as the international market, and Bradley has all the attributes we were looking for.

"His experience as a player and coach set him apart, and I am confident that he will help us to build a very competitive team for our inaugural 2023 season.”

@Herman_Gibbs

Related Topics:

SoccerBafana Bafana

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