The midnight express of the Bafana team in 1996

Hellman ‘Midnight Express’ Mkhalele is one of the former football players who still have an impact in the game today. He is one of the players who formed the first Bafana Bafana team after being reinstated by FIFA in international football. He was also part of the Bafana Bafana team that defeated Tunisia by 2 goals to 0 at the FNB Stadium in the 1996 AFCON.

Hellman played his club football both in South Africa and Europe. In South Africa he played for Jomo Cosmos Football Club and Orlando Pirates while in Europe he played for Kayserispor, Ankaragucu, Goztepe, and Malatyaspor all in Turkey. He enjoyed his career locally and internationally.

While playing for Orlando Pirates Hellman Mkhalele managed to win the then National Soccer League (NSL) which qualified them for the CAF Champions League in 1995 and they ended up being the winners of Africa’s most prestigious football tournament.

He played for the national team Bafana Bafana and was part of the 1996 team that won the AFCON on home soil. This means that Hellman is one of the few players who won both the CAF most prestigious trophies in the history of Southern and African football in general. This is an achievement that gives the impression that Midnight Express was a very talented footballer during his playing days.

In general Hellman Mkhalele scored 62 club football goals and 8 goals for Bafana Bafana out of 66 caps. The total number of goals he scored in his professional football career is 70 and as a midfielder it shows how involved Hellman was when the teams he played for were attacking. He has scored a lot of goals more than some strikers who also played the same number of games professionally.

While playing in Turkey Hellman was a household name in the Turkish League and was one of the fans’ favourites in the country. He played for the top sides and was regarded as one of the best foreigners to play in Turkey and that is the reason he spent 8 years in Turkey.

At Orlando Pirates, Mkhalele is still in the books of the most effective wingers the team ever had and is still part of the development sided at the team. He is well respected ad used for motivating and guiding young football players to respect their careers and learn a lot as he himself has a Diploma in Teaching which he acquired while playing professional football during those days.

South African football has grown in the economical part but still behind when it comes to performance in the field of play. Mkhalele is one of the former players who contributed in the current success enjoyed by current crop of players financially and also one of the people who contributed in the current PSL status amongst other football leagues in the world.

South Africa is indeed blessed to have former players like Hellman still contributing to the development of football in the country. He is involved in a lot of activities involving football each and every time he is needed.

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