For the first time since making his International debut two year, Cyriel Dessers will get the chance to suit up on his home debut when Nigeria hosts Sierra Leone in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Abuja.
Dessers, 27, switched his international allegiance from Belgium to Nigeria, but though it has been a difficult start to his international career, the Forward says he embraces the challenge.
This past season, like in 2020 he was one of the hottest properties in Europe helping Feyenoord book a Europa League spot in the Eredivisie and also reaching the final of the Europa Conference League.
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Although he finished as top scorer in the competition, Feyenoord lost to AS Roma in the final, but the Nigeria Forward had caught the eyes of the NT selectors again.
However this time the competition for places in the Super Eagles is stiff and chances will be fiercely contested.
In the recent Friendlies against Mexico and Ecuador, Dessers led the Eagles attack line, but on June 9 it’s uncertain whom head Coach Jose Peseiro will deploy as spearhead.
With also Victor Osimhen, Sadiq Umar and Terem Moffi available for Peseiro to select from, the KRC Genk man says he’s going to be a great teammate and a competition.
“It’s pretty hard actually, because I think We have 8 or 9 Strikers, who can easily be called up every time,” Dessers admitted. “Of course there are only three or four spots and we have to fight for it and be in top shape.”
“I enjoy the competition we have, When we arrived here, of course we are here to help and support each other because we all have one goal.”
“If I start or not I’m not sure either at this moment, we will see about that because we also talked about the competition.
“But in either role I’ll do everything for the team and the Country and try my best to be important and to score goals.”
Speaking on the decision to represent Nigeria rather than Belgium and the subsequent challenges he has faced, Dessers declared no regrets.
“I’m really happy with my decision even though it’s been two years since my last call up, I never regretted it.
“I always kept fighting and kept scoring goals just to get called up here and to finally be back here feels really good. When you’ve had the feeling of starting and scoring in games then you want more.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian football fans who cheered Cyriel Dessers on TV during the course of the past season, will have to wait for longer to see the Forward in action back home.
Nigeria will play it’s first home game since the World Cup playoff match against Ghana, behind closed doors.
The melee that followed the final whistle at the MKO Abiola Stadium in the second-leg match against the Black Stars.