Hlanti: My story will inspire youngsters

Once a target of Kaizer Chiefs, Hlanti went down to the National First Division with AmaZulu in 2014/15  but returned to the PSL to join the Clever Boys halfway through the following season after he was frozen out by Usuthu.

Since his arrival, Hlanti has made the left-back position his own and has proved to be one of the most consistent players in the Wits squad.

It’s no surprise that Wits have rewarded him by exercising the two-year option in his contract.

Since joining Wits, Hlanti has represented Bafana Bafana, making his debut in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Cameroon at Moses Mabhida Stadium last year. To top if off, he won the man of the match award.

In the early stages of the 2016/17 season, Hlanti played a key role in the club’s successful MTN8 campaign.

He set up the first goal for Daine Klate in the final against Mamelodi Sundowns, as he broke free on the left and whipped in a cross for the former Orlando Pirates winger to tuck away.

The 27-year-old continued to soar and helped Wits win the league title for the first time in club's 96-year existence.

Hlanti, who started 26 league matches for the club last season, says his life story will inspire upcoming footballers and it just goes to show that everything in life has its time, just like the success he's currently having.

“I feel I'm at the right place,” Hlanti tells KickOff.com.

“To the youngsters, if you put your heart and mind to something, at the end of the day you are bound to get rewarded.

“This just shows there are a lot of things in life you have to face in order to see yourself somewhere.”

He credited Wits coach Gavin Hunt for his success thus far.

“Coach Gavin Hunt played a pivotal role and that led me to see where I'm lacking in my game. He was absolutely crucial and massive in turning my life around.”

Hlanti may end the season with an individual trophy. He's nominated for the PSL Defender of the Season award and he’s up against teammate Thulani Hlatshwayo and Kaizer Chiefs right back Ramahlwe Mphahlele.

The 2016/17 PSL awards will take place at Sandton Convention Centre on Monday.