With the African Cup of Nations having kicked off at the weekend, NTOF are looking at some of the most interesting African players to grace Scottish football. Next on the list is Hibs’ Congolese cult hero Dominique Malonga.
Born in France, the forward grew up in the suburbs of Paris to Congolese parents. He may have grown up in the French capital, but Hibernian and opposition fans are well aware of his time in the Scottish capital.
A class act in the Championship
When Alan Stubbs took the Hibs reigns, he had a big rebuilding job on his hands. The Hibees had suffered relegation for the first time since 1998. 14 league goals in Malonga’s debut season, 2014-15, meant that along with Jason Cummings, the duo were quite the pair.
He most notably netted on his debut against Cowdenbeath and scored the opener in an Edinburgh derby. He also netted a hat trick away at Dumbarton, then managed by former Hibs hero Ian Murray, in a memorable match where Hibs won 6-3.
Just four league goals followed in the 2015-16 season, largely due to signings such as Anthony Stokes and James Keatings restricting the African’s game time. With his contract set to expire in the summer of 2016, his spell with the capital club ended that January.
If only he’d have stayed Malonga
His youth career took place in France but Malonga’s senior career kicked off in Italy, having signed for the Hibees from Cesena after emerging at Torino. Malonga later left Hibs for Serie B side Pro Vercelli, signing for an undisclosed fee.
Spells in Spain, Switzerland and Greece would later follow, at Elche CF, Servette FC and Chania Kissamikos respectively. Now 30, Malonga is playing over in Canada for Cavalry FC, having signed in March 2019.
A talented front-man on his day, he must be annoyed with the lack of appearances towards the end of his stay in Scotland. Seven Congo caps have came for the striker. Maybe it’d be more had he been able to kick on with Hibs.