Bafana Bafana forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane has opened up about his struggles since joining Major League Soccer outfit Minnesota United earlier this year.
The 21-year-old joined Minnesota United from Maritzburg United in January 2022 after he put pen to paper on a three-year contract with the US-based club.
Hlongwane made his debut for United on 26 February this year when he played the final 12 minutes in their 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park in Pennsylvania. He is still to score after 17 appearances since his debut.
The Bafana Bafana forward has since made 17 appearances across all competitions for Minnesota, while only scoring one goal and assisting a further three. He has since opened up about the difficulties of not having the support of his family in America.
“Talking about goals, I don’t want to lie because I don’t know what is going on because I won’t say I’m not getting chances,” Hlongwane told Safa.
“I’m creating chances in the team, and they are also creating chances for me. I’m always at the right place at the right time, but I don’t know what is going on.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m putting myself under pressure because I know what I can do when you put me on the field. I know myself. Maybe this time I don’t know what I should do to score but I’m waiting for the right time, and I know it is coming.
“I have to believe in myself and keep on pushing. Sometimes you see such things happening to big players, but they keep going.”
He added: “Everything is OK, it’s going well, but sometimes when I see people coming with their families to the games, I feel like I need my family too to come and support me. To be there for me, but it is impossible for that to happen. But I have to take it because they are far.
“If you know what you want in life you have to do everything to face every challenge coming your way.
“I want to change my life and that of my family to be OK because I know where I come from.
“I come from the rural areas and grew up in a family where my grandfather was supporting everyone up until my mom and uncle started to work.
“After that, I moved to my father who was looking after me working as a constructor until the Covid pandemic, but when I got the contract at Maritzburg I started supporting him.
“I look after my father by sending money home for him. Even my mom is working but I send money to them to buy food and whatever they need,” he explained.