Hibernian: Dominique Malonga relishing international call-up

Hibernian striker Dominique Malonga
Dominique Malonga has notched six goals since joining Hibs as a free agent in September

Hibernian striker Dominique Malonga believes he is now ready for international football, after being called up by Congo.

The 25-year-old had been contacted by the African nation previously but revealed the call-up came too early in his career.

"Congo called me before but I was not ready yet. Now I think it's a good opportunity," he told BBC Scotland.

"In my head I'm ready and in my body I feel good. It's good for my career."

Malonga, who has hit six goals since joining Hibs in September, had been called up for Congo's African Nations Cup qualifiers against Nigeria and Sudan in mid-November.

Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs
"I'm delighted with the way they are playing at the moment, they're full of confidence and we're looking forward to Saturday."

He is looking forward to joining up with the squad, and is grateful for Hibs for helping him catch the attention of the national team.

"These are big games, it's a big opportunity for my country to go to the African Nations Cup," said Malonga, who was born in France and played for their youth teams.

"The first game is crucial because we have to draw or win the game.

"I thank everyone because when I came here I had not been training and Hibs gave me the opportunity to play - I want to do my best for Hibs."

Malonga's call-up means he will miss the club's home league game against Queen of the South on 15 November, but boss Alan Stubbs reckons that is a price worth paying.

Malonga scores against Hibs
Dominique Malonga scored as Hibs drew 1-1 with Championship leaders Hearts

"We're thrilled - to have someone given a full international having only been here for six to eight weeks is all credit to the club, it's something we should be proud of," said Stubbs, who said he did not think the club would get the game postponed because of Malonga's call-up.

The Easter Road outfit take on Cowdenbeath on Saturday, having drawn their previous league outing against Edinburgh rivals Hearts.

And Stubbs reckons there are clear signs of progress at Hibs, having taken charge of the club in the summer.

"I'm delighted with the way they are playing at the moment, they're full of confidence and we're looking forward to Saturday," he said.

"In the period I've been here their attitude and application towards being better and improving has been first class. A lot of these players were written off and now they are back performing at a level and enjoying their football.

"We feel as if we've come a long way in a short space of time."