Joseph Mbong was born in Nigeria in 1997 but moved to Malta at the age of two. He was born into a footballing family with his father Essien ‘Papa’ Mbong having a career as a midfielder for Hibernians, he sadly passed away aged 37 in 2013. Since coming through the Hibs academy Mbong made his first team debut in the Europa League first qualifying round against Spartak Trnava, he replaced Jean Paul Farrugia in the last minute of the game. Since qualifying for a Maltese passport the striker has played a number of games for the U17 Maltese National Team, this allowed him the chance to play at the UEFA U17 Championships. Mbong was the stand out player for the Maltese side scoring against Holland. This allowed the talented striker to be called up to the U19 National team. Mbong was on target for the Under-19 side when he scored the third in their 5-0 win against Katane Soccer Mascalucia. Recently the striker has had interest from a number of clubs including English side, Bolton Wanderers. They offered Mbong a trail in September 2014, with a view to a transfer in the summer of 2015.
Late last year (2014) you had trails with Bolton Wanderers, how did you find these? JM: The trials at Bolton were not easy since the intensity at the club was much more higher than I have experience at the Maltese level.
During your time at Bolton did you notice a difference between Maltese and English football? JM: Yes, the speed and strength of the game was higher. The strength of most the players in English football is a step forward than what I have experienced Maltese football.
Since returning how has your football developed and improved? JM: Since returning to Malta I have tried to improve even more in those aspects mentioned previously (speed and strength) and this has allowed myself to see an improve in them.
What can you take from your time in England? JM: I have taken the opportunity to train as a professional since in Malta I couldn’t do that. You are one of Malta’s biggest up and coming talents, how does it feel to play for the national team at U19 level? JM: It feels good since it’s a chance to improve and allows me to play against the best players in different countries and also I can train with the best players in my country which is great to know you’re one of the best.
How are you finding Hibernians? JM: It’s great since I’m now training with experienced players who have played in better countries and with great players so it’s a pleasure to be in the squad and have the opportunity to play lots of games in my first year of first team football.
What’s your proudest moment as a player? JM: My proudest moment would be scoring against the Netherlands in the UEFA Under-17 Finals Tournament in Malta last May, this was special since I was the first Maltese player to score in a final tournament.