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Bafana Stars Earning Big In MLS

Bafana Bafana duo Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Njabulo Blom’s 2023 earnings in Major League Soccer (MLS) showcase the benefits of South African talents moving abroad.

Hlongwane, 22, left South African shores for a move to the United States in January last year to join Minnesota United from from Maritzburg United on a three-year deal with a one-year option.

Blom, who is one year older, and a senior international too, joined new MLS franchise St Louis City, coached by Bafana legend Bradley Carnell as Kaizer Chiefs cashed in on his services before his contract expired in July this year.

Amakhosi are believed to have pocketed around R6 million for their academy product and according to the latest MLS salary guide, he’s earning around R528k per month at his new club.

In football, it’s common case that the attackers earn the big money and Hlongwane receives around R971k per month on his current contract.

The Bafana forward receives $560,000 (R10.8 million) in base salary and $610,000 (R11.8 million) in guaranteed compensation per year, which includes marketing bonus and any agent’s fees.

The third South African player in MLS, Tsiki Ntsabeleng, of FC Dallas, is another player formerly on the books of Chiefs – his current package after being drafted from the University level in 2022 is R137,500 per month.

The 25-year-old gets $85,444 (R1.65 million) in base salary, and the same in guaranteed compensation.

With all three still not close to the peak of their careers it showcases the incredible earning potential in North America, where Kamohelo Mokotjo also featured for FC Cincinnati between 2020 and 2022 after leaving English club Brentford.

During his stint, according to the figures released by the league, he was on a lucrative contract worth around R1.6 million per month before parting ways and returning to South Africa for his first spell in the DStv Premiership on his career with Sekhukhune United.

Kamohelo Mokotjo of Sekhukhune United FC during 2023 Nedbank Cup Last 32 match between Sekhukhune United FC and Liver Brothers FC on the 08 February 2022 at Peter Mokaba Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Meanwhile, former Kaizer Chiefs defender Teenage Hadebe earns $1,122,900 (R21.7 million) in base salary and $1,288,077 (R24.9 million) in guaranteed compensation per annum at Houston Dynamo.

His monthly salary calculates to a massive R2.1 million. The 27-year-old defender has made eight appearances this season, and his contract still runs until December 2023, with the club having a one-year option.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.