Kadodia confirms European interest in Maritzburg’s Bafana starlet Hlongwane

Bongokuhle Hlongwane celebrates his goal for Bafana Bafana in the 2022 FifaWorld Cup qualifying match against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on September 6 2021.
Bongokuhle Hlongwane celebrates his goal for Bafana Bafana in the 2022 FifaWorld Cup qualifying match against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on September 6 2021.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Maritzburg United chairperson Farook Kadodia has confirmed he has had interest from European clubs in Bafana Bafana starlet Bongokuhle Hlongwane.

Kadodia said if the club and player were happy with a deal, United would not stand in the 21-year-old striker’s way of a move abroad.

However, the Maritzburg owner said he would prefer it if such a deal comes at the end of the 2021-22 season.

“There is interest but we haven’t confirmed anything yet. Once we are happy and the player is happy [something can happen],” Kadodia said on Tuesday.

“The player is determined to go overseas, to Europe. He doesn’t want to go to a local club.

“It all depends if the offer is right. But whatever we do both parties should be happy, the club and the player.”

Kadodia could not name the clubs which had shown an interest in the Bafana talent, but did confirm they were in Europe.

“We have had enquiries. Obviously his representatives would want to do a deal because for the agent there is money in it.

“We wouldn’t like to let the player go until the end of the season. Again, that all depends on the kind of negotiations we are in.”

Kadodia said he could not name Hlongwane’s agent, but said he believed the player is represented by “one guy locally and one guy overseas”.

Hlongwane has been attracting interest since making his Maritzburg debut aged 18 in a 1-0 Premiership defeat to Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on April 24 2019.

He made his international debut for a decidedly fringe Bafana Bafana selection that lost 3-2 to Lesotho in Maseru in an African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier in July 2019.

Hlongwane began to make headlines when he scored coming off the bench in SA’s 3-2 friendly win against Uganda at FNB Stadium in June under assistant-coach Helman Mkhalele, as new head coach Hugo Broos was in Belgium for his Covid-19 vaccine jab. Bafana were depleted by positive Covid-19 tests.

Drafted by Broos into the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the young striker scored again in the 1-0 win against Ghana at FNB Stadium, and played all six group matches.

Concerned about the attention Hlongwane has been getting from his international exploits, Maritzburg have shielded the player from media interviews and tried to manage the interest and approaches from agents and clubs.

Hlongwane has appeared distracted for the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands club, scoring just twice in 17 league and cup games in 2021-22.


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