Hibs ace focused on derby – not Africa Cup of Nations

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Hibs striker Dominque Malonga insists that he hasn’t given the Africa Cup of Nations one thought after his brother successfully negotiated his release from the Congo squad to play in tomorrow’s Edinburgh derby.

Malonga, pictured, has been called up by Congo manager Claude Le Roy for the biennial event that is being held in Equatorial Guinea from January 17 to February 8.

The 25-year-old was due to fly out to Brazzaville, the Congolese capital, today and join his team-mates in a pre-tournament training camp, but Le Roy listened to the pleas of Malonga and his brother Arley, who acts as his agent, for him to stay in Edinburgh and play against Hearts.

The forward told the Evening News that he is desperate to win the derby with Hibs and that he hasn’t even begun to think about his duties with Congo.

“I don’t think about Congo and the Africa Cup of Nations. Really, truthfully, I don’t think about it,” said Malonga.

“I want to give my all to Hibs. When I’m here, I think about Hibs all the time. I think about the game and to how win it, and when the game is finished, and when we win the game, then I go to Africa Cup of Nations.

“The Congo coach was okay with me staying for the match. My brother talked with him and he understands how big a game it is for us as it’s a derby. He understands that I want to play.

“I told him that it was very important for me to play in this match before I leave. We also talked with George (Craig, director of football) and we are all happy that I can play in this game.”