Florian Kamberi: I'm happy at Hibs but I might have to leave to achieve international football dream
Flo Kamberi fears a lack of game-time could lead to him quitting Hibs in pursuit of his dream of international football.
Although born in Zurich, Switzerland, the Easter Road striker is also eligible to play for his parents’ homeland of Kosovo and also Albania. At the age of 24, he’s anxious to achieve that goal.
As yet, however, none of those countries have come calling and having found himself playing second fiddle to £350,000 summer signing Christian Doidge in recent weeks, he realises that unless he is playing regularly, they are unlikely to do so.
A Swiss Under-21 cap, Kamberi said: “My big goal is to play international football, 100 per cent. I have the possibility to play for three nations and any of those nations would be a privilege for me, especially if it was at a tournament like the Euros or the World Cup.
“I grew up in Switzerland and I have family there, but both of my parents are from Kosovo and I have been there many times for holidays. And Albania is like a brother country to Kosovo, so it’s the same for me at the end of the day.
“I don’t have a preference. I would never say one of them was my first choice ahead of the others. It’s not like that. It would be a privilege to represent any of them. I haven’t had a call-up from any of them yet, so I am just waiting.”
Kamberi has seen how regular first-team football with Hibs can lead to international recognition, having arrived at the club around the same time as Jamie Maclaren, who made no secret of the fact he saw playing in the Scottish Premiership as a stepping stone to making the Australian squad for last summer’s World Cup.
Maclaren did so and is now a regular with the Socceroos, scoring four goals in their last two matches, while Hibs winger Martin Boyle - currently out injured - has forced his way into Aussie coach Graham Arnold’s thoughts.
Marc McNulty also came to Hibs on loan last season, leaving with two Scotland caps under his belt, and Kamberi believes he, too, could follow in their footsteps.
Admitting that he’d once believed having played for Switzerland’s Under-21 side the natural progression would have been to step up to the full squad, the former Grasshopper Zurich player said: “I went to Karlsruhe and had a hard season.
“I then went back to Grasshoppers and didn’t play for six months. So it made sense to me that the Swiss national coach didn’t call me up for the team.
“It’s the same with Kosovo and Albania. If you want to play for a national team, especially at a tournament, you have to be a starting 11 player, playing a lot of games and, as a striker, scoring goals.
“And if you don’t get the game-time you want then, yeah, maybe you have to move on.”
Kamberi believes there is still a possibility of playing in next summer’s European Championship finals - both Switzerland and Kosovo are already assured of a play-off place but also have the chance of qualifying directly - but added: “If I am playing every weekend, scoring goals and playing consistently there would be a chance.
“But first of all, of course, I need to play, and if not I have to maybe consider moving on.”
Kamberi, however, insisted that he is content in Edinburgh saying: “It’s still early, I am not thinking too much about what might happen.
“I am just looking forward to the weekend and giving my best in training. What the future will bring, I don’t know. I am happy here with the club, my team-mates and the fans.
“I appreciate very much how they have treated me since I have been here. I am looking at things from week to week and trying to make the best of it and to help the team at the end of the day.”