His dream has always been to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and when he came in as a last minute substitute against Tunisia in an international friendly last month, his excitement knew no bound and he looked forward to subsequent national team invitations. However, Cyriel Dessers’ name was missing in Nigeria’s double-header Africa Cup of Nations qualifier matches against Sierra-Leone but the Racing Genk striker said he’s still committed to playing for Nigeria despite still having the option to play for another country
Racing Genk star Cyriel Dessers, is not thinking about quitting the Nigeria national team despite his omission from the squad list for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone.
The Belgian-born striker paid the price for his lack of playing time at Genk, having logged only 73 minutes in the Belgian First Division A since he returned from his first international duty with the Super Eagles.
Assuming he was called up for this month’s fixtures, he would have been given the chance to become cap-tied to Nigeria.
Dessers’ teammate at Racing Genk, Paul Onuachu is believed to be ahead of the former Heracles Almelo attacker in the pecking order of strikers for club and country.
“Thirteen internationals are missing,” Dessers told Tubantia on his teammates who were called up to represent their nations this month.
“Last time Paul and I went together, this time I was not called up. I understand that. I hope and assume that I will be back in the future.
“Genk has met me with a plan, so I am curious about how things will go in the near future.”
Dessers, 25, was lively when he came off the bench for the last 18 minutes of Nigeria’s 1-1 draw with Tunisia in a friendly that took place in Austria on October 13.
He had waited patiently for his Super Eagles derby since his decision to dump his country of birth- Belgium for motherland. His wait was further stretched with the postponement of Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier matches owing to Coronavirus pandemic. The wait however ended when he came in as a 72nd-minute substitute in the international friendly game against Tunisia in Austria. Dessers was indeed looking forward to the AFCON qualifier against Sierra Leone but it was not to be as coach Gernad Rohr had other ideas and Desssers’ direction was not looked at.
It was indeed a disappointment for Dessers who had been hoping to play his first competitive game for the three-time African champions.
He was in line to make his debut for Nigeria in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier game against Sierra Leone in March but the game was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Dessers had stated before now that it would be “incredibly amazing” to play for Nigeria and hopes his form will earn him a call-up.
The 25-year-old, born to a Belgian father and Nigerian mother, is eligible to play for the Super Eagles, given he is yet to feature for the Dutch senior team.
His dream of staring for Nigeria finally came to fruition following his international bow against the Carthage Eagles, and the 25-year-old has expressed his delight at representing the three-time African champions.
Dessers was ecstatic to get his first international debut for Nigeria in the 1-1 draw against Tunisia.
He was an unused substitute against Algeria, notwithstanding, he made his bow against the Carthage Eagles after replacing Ahmed Musa with 18 minutes left to play at the Jacques Lemans Arena.
“Proud and honoured to represent a big football nation like Nigeria. Proud to be a Super Eagle,” he tweeted.
“I am tired, I barely slept last night and still have to go home by car, but it was worth it,” Dessers told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“It was fun, I was very well received in the group.
“This was a highlight in my career, yes.
“There are not many things that are highly regarded, right? Maybe become a top scorer, yes. But playing for your country.”
Dessers said he was now looking forward to his next game for the three-time African champions.
“Who wouldn’t want to be there again?” He asked rhetorically.
“You never know in football. But then I will have to play well at Genk in the first place. That’s my main concern now. Making more minutes at Genk now requires my full focus.”
While at Heracles Almelo, Dessers had expressed his wish to represent the 2013 African champions after meeting with officials of the Nigeria Football Federation.
He was invited for the first time earlier this year by Rohr for Africa Cup of Nations qualification with Sierra Leone – an encounter that could not take place owing to the outbreak of COVID-19 which crippled football-related activities across the globe.
“It hurts me because I thought it was going to be one of the best moments of my life – or at least my career – and that it didn’t go through was really painful,” Dessers told BBC Sport.
“I know it’s a young team, a lot of players playing in Europe, so I think that the adaptation would be fine and I hope when I come into the team they accept me.”
After impressing in the Eredivisie, where he scored 18 goals and provided six assists to emerge as joint-top scorer in the Dutch elite division, Dessers penned a four-year deal with Belgian top-flight side Genk.
However, he has not had enough playing time at the Luminus Arena this season, having just scored two goals in six league appearances for Jess Thorup’s men.