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Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Njabulo Blom showing Hugo Broos that MLS is an untapped resource for Bafana

Bongokuhle Hlongwane of South Africa challenged by Prince Balde of Liberia during the 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers match between South Africa and Liberia at the Orlando Stadium, Soweto

The duo of Bongokuhle Hlongwane (pictured right) and Njabulo Blom missed out on the previous Bafana camp as head coach Hugo Broos wanted to look at fresh faces who might force their way into his plans at the last minute. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Oct 11, 2023


The growing trend and relationship between South African footballers and Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US appears to have opened a new avenue for Bafana Bafana.

St Louis City midfielder Njabulo Blom and Minnesota United attacker Bongokuhle Hlongwane have ripped through the MLS this season, endearing themselves to the fans.

The duo missed out on the previous Bafana camp as head coach Hugo Broos wanted to look at fresh faces who might force their way into his plans at the last minute.

Blom, who has been a vital cog in Bradley Carnell’s team, was the more outspoken of the two players, revealing his disappointment at not being able to play against Namibia and the DRC.

‘Everyone wants to play for the national team’

“Obviously, I'm disappointed. Everyone wants to play for the national team but also when you look at the quality that is there, you can’t do anything as a player," Blom told Metro FM.

Blom has played 27 matches for his team across all competitions - including 25 in the league and City are currently top of the table in the Western Conference standings after 33 matches, with Blom (23) playing a huge role in the club’s progress.

Broos should be thrilled to welcome back a man who is not only strutting his stuff abroad but is also excelling at a young age, which bodes well for the national team’s prospects.

Also flying the South African flag high is Hlongwane, who has quite frequently been mentioned in the same sentences as Lionel Messi as of late due to his remarkable goalscoring exploits. The 23-year-old has 22 goal involvements in the 37 appearances he made for his club in 2023. He also finished as runner-up in the League Cup’s top scorer standings where he netted seven goals, beaten only by Messi's 10.

With the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers in November against Benin and Rwanda at the top of Broos’ priorities, a man of Hlongwane’s proven goal-scoring touch, as well as form, is extremely enticing. With Burnley’s Lyle Forster scoring goals in the English Premier League and Percy Tau untouchable in the colours of Egyptian Giants Al Ahly, it appears Hlongwane is about to peak at the right time for Bafana.

The former Maritzburg United man will also have an eye on being a part of the Bafana squad jetting off to the Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.


IOL Sport