Hibs’ Stephane Omeonga opens up on Genoa contract situation

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Hibs midfielder Stephane Omeonga admits he has no interest in returning to Italy at the end of his loan deal, if parent club Genoa are relegated from Serie A.

I Rossoblu are currently 16th in the table, just five points off the relegation places, and have won just two of their last ten matches. All of their remaining fixtures are against teams above them in the table.

And speaking to the Evening News’ sister publication Scotland on Sunday, Omeonga said: “[Genoa] have four games left and they have to win points otherwise it could be bad.

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“I have two years left on my contract and there is no clause in my contract but, yes, things will change.

Stephane Omeonga has become a hit with the Hibs fans. Picture: SNS GroupStephane Omeonga has become a hit with the Hibs fans. Picture: SNS Group
Stephane Omeonga has become a hit with the Hibs fans. Picture: SNS Group

“I changed a lot of coaches there. The first season I played 23 games so it was all good. I was away with the national team all the time [the Under-21s] and then the next season everything changed quickly. I didn’t understand.

“It was the same coach who I had finished the season with, I was just not part of his plan anymore.

“I was going to go back to Belgium, there were clubs who were interested. Standard Liege, KV Oostende and some good teams, but the deal fell through and I stayed but just didn’t play.

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“Davide Ballardini was the coach and I was reading in a few places that maybe he is going to come back so...”

Omeonga arrived at Hibs shortly before Neil Lennon’s exit in January. Despite some initial uncertainty, the Belgian Under-21 cap insisted returning to Italy was never an option.

“I came here because Neil Lennon wanted me. Obviously the club wanted me too but for football players it means a lot if the gaffer tells you, or even if he doesn’t say it but shows you, that he feels you add value to his team.

“When I heard the news that Lennon was leaving I thought ‘Wow, what am I going to do?’

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“Then the first week I didn’t play so I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be difficult’. But I didn’t want to go back to Italy, no, because it was worse in Italy!”

Omeonga has become a key player under Paul Heckingbottom, and has credited the Hibs head coach with bringing his game on.

“I like the way he works,” he said. “My English is not so good so we don’t talk so much but he has taught me a lot since he came and keeps teaching me every day.”

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