Cyriel Dessers: Mother is Supreme

Cyriel Dessers

When Chinua Achebe wrote in his aaward-winning novel, “Things Fall Apart” that “Mother is Supreme”, saying a man belongs to his fatherland when things are good but seeks refuge in his motherland when life his harsh, little did he know that decades later it would still be relevant. With Belgium national team almost a mirage, Cyriel Dessers is turning to the motherland national team-Super Eagles for succour President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick’s ‘VIP Scouting’ has again caught another fish after Dutch League hotshot, Cyriel Dessers proved “Mother is Supreme” as he chooses to play for Nigeria ahead of his fatherland-Belgium.

“After a series of discussions with the NFF President Pinnick, I have decided to fully commit myself to Nigeria and the Super Eagles and I’m going to work to be part of the team and fight for more success for the country. I am a proud Nigerian and I can’t wait to fulfill my dream of wearing the green-white-green,” Cyril Dessers had said.

Born to a Belgian father and Nigerian mother, the striker has been in domineering form for his club-side, Heracles Almelo, scoring 17 goals across all competition thus far.

He declared his intention to play for Nigeria ahead Belgium last year, prompting the country’s football governing body to file his application to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).

He has since been cleared to represent Nigeria at international level and could make his debut against the Leone Stars in March.

According to the NFF President, Pinnick, Dessers could debut for the Super Eagles in next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Sierra Leone at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.

“Dessers is sure for Sierra Leone, what a squad that will be once he joins the rest of the squad, a deadly attack,” an optimistic Pinnick said.

Dessers has indeed confirmed his availability for the Super Eagles when they face Sierra Leone in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba next month.

“I’m working hard every day at my club and I hope to be in the squad but I understand it’s hard and there’s a lot of competition,” Dessers said.

“I will be ready and eligible to represent the Super Eagles. It will be a great honour of course for my family and friends.

“I made my choice two years ago even before I contacted the Nigeria Football Federation.”
Speaking further, the 25-year-old also revealed his biggest asset which will bring more quality to the team.

“My physicality is one of my strong points and I’m sure I will need to adapt, but I think it won’t be a problem to get used to it. I like hard and fair duels.”

The Heracles Almelo hotshot has confessed that he never considered playing for Belgium as it would have been impossible to break into Roberto Martinez’s squad.

Dessers having earlier revealed his desire to play for Nigeria – his mother’s place of birth – at international level rather than his country of birth Belgium the NFF last year December, responded by declaring that he would be available for selection anytime the Super Eagles handlers deem fit.

That public declaration by the country’s top football body ignited the patriotic pride in the Dutch Eredivisie’s top goalscorer, a player who was named the league’s November Player of the Month after scoring six goals and producing three assists.

“I think it is a huge honour that they (NFF) have contacted me and communicated to the outside world,” Dessers was quoted to have said.

“Belgium has never been a serious option, that’s why I don’t skip between the two countries. The Belgian team has the best generation ever, with top strikers like Lukaku, Batshuayi and Mertens. Boys my own age, who will play as long as I do. I have no illusions. ”

“I’ve never been to Nigeria. My grandfather and grandmother are from Nigeria, my mother was born in Europe. When I look in the mirror, I see half a Nigerian every day. I also have characteristics of an African.”

The 25-year-old who has never played for Belgium at any level has now chosen to play for Nigeria.
In a statement through the NFF, Dessers described himself as a “proud Nigerian” and says he wants to fulfill his dream of wearing the green-white-green colours.

Dessers began his career at OH Leuven in his neighbourhood but made a solitary senior appearance. City rivals Lokeren gave him a fresh start in 2014. There he enjoyed regular football, hitting seven goals in 40 appearances across two seasons.

Dessers’ real poachers qualities came to the fore after crossing the border to the Netherlands in 2016. At second-tier Breda, he buried 29 goals in 40 matches, helping them secure promotion. He, however, elected to have his first feel of Eredivisie elsewhere – Utrecht. Two seasons at Stadion Galgenwaard yielded 19 goals.

Despite finishing sixth last season, Dessers ditched Utrecht for Almelo. He must be glad he did. With 12 goals, the 25-year-old is the division’s top marksman. An additional five assists mean the soon-to-be capped Super Eagle is involved in over 55 per cent of Heracles’ 29 strikes. He was named the league’s November Player of the Month after scoring six goals and producing three assists.

Dessers bears all the hallmarks of the archetypal goal-getter. Headers, scrappy follow-ups, 20-yard drives straight out of the top drawer, he notches them all. Standing at 6’1”, he possesses a similar physique to Lille’s Victor Osimhen. While not blessed with an abundant pace like the 19-year-old, he doesn’t relinquish possession without a fight.

Without a doubt, Dessers would be a great addition to a young and exciting Nigerian bunch. Although Osimhen already locked down the solitary starting berth in the attack, Gernot Rohr could do with extra firepower from the bench. Regular backup Paul Onuachu hasn’t quite been up to the task.

Dessers, though, might be caught up in Rohr’s experimental web, especially in the final third. For every Iwobi success story, there is a Maja yet to click. For Aina, a certain Tyrone Ebuehi was sacrificed. While a Brian Idowu had to make way for Collins. It doesn’t always follow the plot.

Rohr is notorious for inviting players and not capping them. Sometimes, he ceases to extend invitation after just two matches. Ndifreke Udo, David Okereke, Maja, Peter Olayinka, Emmanuel Dennis are just a few victims with barely an hour of international football among them.