Amidst the fervor and excitement of the ongoing USA MLS season, a group of promising South African talents has captured the attention of soccer enthusiasts around the globe.
These individuals, brimming with a distinctive fusion of skill, unwavering determination, and an unbridled passion for the sport, have captured the attention of football enthusiasts across the African continent.
In this article, we'll introduce you to the South Africans to watch in the USA MLS season, as they embark on a journey to showcase their abilities on an international stage and leave an indelible mark on American football.
Stars from South Africa: Unveiling the ones to watch in the USA MLS season
Bongokuhle Hlongwane – Minnesota United
At just 23 years of age, Bongokuhle Hlongwane is already making waves in his second season at Minnesota United.
A consistent presence on the field, he has notched an impressive tally of six goals in 21 appearances throughout his USA MLS campaign.
Hlongwane's dynamic performance not only bolsters his team but also catches the eye of Bafana Bafana's head coach, Hugo Broos, adding a positive dimension to South Africa's football aspirations.
Njabulo Blom – St Louis City FC
Former Kaizer Chiefs central midfielder Njabulo Blom has seamlessly transitioned into his new role at St Louis City FC, starting an impressive 11 out of 16 appearances for the club.
Joining the USA MLS in December 2022, Blom has swiftly adapted to his first season with St Louis, showcasing his skills and versatility on the field.
His confident presence and adaptability stand as a testament to his potential impact in shaping the team's success moving forward.
Katlego ‘Tsiki’ Ntsabeleng – FC Dallas
Unheralded within the South African football sphere, the former Chiefs academy prodigy, Ntsabeleng, has quietly risen to prominence.
Entrenched in his second USA MLS season, he has etched a place as a dependable force within FC Dallas, displaying a remarkable consistency as a regular midfielder.
Despite his burgeoning success, the puzzling enigma persists as Bafana Bafana's coach, Broos, seemingly overlooks his undeniable potential.
Cassius Mailula – Toronto FC
Sights set on the weekend ahead 🔜
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) August 15, 2023
Toronto FC has made a significant addition to their roster by acquiring forward Cassius Mailula from Mamelodi Sundowns FC in the South African top-flight league.
As a 22-year-old South African international, Mailula enters as part of the U22 Initiative, a strategic USA MLS program designed to seamlessly integrate burgeoning young talents from across the globe.
His contract extends through the 2026 season, accompanied by an optional extension for 2027.
The 22-year-old sensation is poised to potentially mark his debut as Toronto FC prepares to host Montreal at the iconic BMO Field Stadium next Monday.
With two appearances for the national team, Bafana Bafana, Mailula boasts an impressive record of 15 goals and four assists in 31 matches for Mamelodi Sundowns, with his notable contributions propelling them to the semifinals of the 2022-23 African Champions League.
As he transitions to the USA MLS stage, all eyes are on Mailula to continue his promising trajectory and make a significant impact in North American football.
Olwethu Makhanya – Philadelphia Union
In a strategic move that amplifies their commitment to nurturing young talent, Philadelphia Union has successfully secured defender Olwethu Makhanya from Stellenbosch FC in the South African top-flight league.
At just 19 years old, Makhanya's potential shines bright as he enters the USA MLS stage, with his contract extending through the 2025 season and the option for further growth in 2026-27.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago