Player Details


Bongokuhle Hlongwane


bong-go-HOOK-le Hluh-ONG-wah-ney


6' 1"


172 lbs

Date of Birth

6.20.2000 (23)


Nxamalala, South Africa



Position Detail


Preferred Side




Roster Category


Player Category

U22 Initiative
Career Summary

Hlongwane joined Minnesota United ahead of the 2022 season as a U22 player after spending his professional career in South Africa with Maritzburg United. He put on quite the show during the 2023 season, especially in the 2023 Leagues Cup tournament. Hlongwane was the runner-up to Lionel Messi (Inter Miami CF) for the Golden Boot after notching seven goals. He secured a brace in both matches of the Group Stage against Club Puebla (LIGA MX) and Chicago Fire FC, another against Columbus Crew in the Round of 32, and a single goal against Deportivo Toluca. Coupled with his scoring streak in Leagues Cup, Hlongwane scored eight goals in the regular season, just behind Teemu Pukki, the team’s leading scorer. He scored two goals in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup, as well. 

In 2022, “Bongi” was a part of the attacking quartet that had the Loons on a 13-game scoring streak from June 19 through August 27. He scored his two goals of the year in that timeframe, knocking his first one in at the Houston Dynamo, earning him an MLS Team of the Week appearance. The 23-year-old scored his second goal the following game, a 4-4 draw at Allianz Field against the Portland Timbers. He finished the season third in assists for the Loons, with four. Hlongwane missed the final games of the regular season due to injury but returned to the Loons starting lineup for the club’s 2022 MLS Cup Playoff game at FC Dallas.

He made his professional debut at age 18 and scored eight goals and provided seven assists in four seasons. The attacker scored his first professional goal in June 2019 against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila. Hlongwane was nominated for the South American Premier Division Player of the Season award for the 2020-21 season.

INTERNATIONAL: The South African international made his national team debut in 2019 and has scored four goals in 15 appearances. He scored his first international goal in 2021 against Uganda and scored the game-winning goal against Ghana in a World Cup Qualifier.