Baggies midfielder returns to international football
YOUSSOUF Mulumbu will make his international return on Saturday hoping to take a big step towards fulfilling his dream of playing at the African Nations Cup.
This time last year, the Baggies midfielder took the difficult decision to retire from playing for DR Congo, citing professional reasons.
But, following discussions with his country’s football authority, and a clamour from supporters on Facebook and Twitter for his return, he has decided to pull on a Leopards shirt once again.
DR Congo face Equatorial Guinea in the first game of their two-leg play-off on Saturday, with the second leg next month, and the winner will book their place at the South Africa 2013 finals.
Should Mulumbu achieve his goal, it will be a bitter-sweet moment for the Baggies as they will lose his services for a significant spell, with the tournament taking place between January 19 and February 10.
“I had the chance to go back to DR Congo this summer and I spoke to many people – the minister and the secretary of the president,” said Mulumbu.
“There is a great chance the set-up and organisation is going to keep improving.
“We have a new gaffer in Claude Leroy and he came to see me against QPR last season.
“I had a lot of pressure from supporters in Congo on my Twitter and Facebook always asking when I’m going to play again for my country. This is why I have changed my mind.”
The former PSG man added: “Previously, I thought it was not advisable to play for DR Congo.
“You need good organisation at international level and that’s what I was fighting for.
“Now things are being sorted, I think it will be great for our country.
“If you go to the African Nations Cup or World Cup all eyes are on the team, which can only be good for the country.
“I’m looking forward to trying to achieve that aim.
“Unfortunately, if we qualify for the African Nations Cup in South Africa I will miss around a month of the Premier League season.”