July 7, 2022

Cyriel Desser: A Despised Hero

  • June 2, 2022
  • 4 min read
Cyriel Desser: A Despised Hero

Early this year, the Nigerian national team participated at the African nations cup tournament in Cameroun. One player that didn’t make it to the competition despite his rising profile in European football, was Nigeria’s Cyriel Kolawole Desser. He was journalists and fans favourite; they expected him to make the Nigerian squad at that tournament, but coach Augustine Eguavoen didn’t look his way. Even while, some players were being replaced due to injury and club commitment, Cyriel Desser was still not considered as a possible replacement. Coach Eguavoen said, he hasn’t seen the player play football, so he can’t invite the striker. He would however regret his decision not to invite the player.

Born in Tongeren, Belgium, on 8 November 1994 to a Belgian father and Nigerian mother, Dessers chose to represent Nigeria at the international level in December 2019 while playing for Genk (Belgium). On 4 March 2022, the then Nigerian national team coach, Gernot Rohr invited Desser for the African Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures against Sierra Leone. Desser would however make his international debut for Nigeria in a friendly 1-1 draw with Tunisia on 13 October 2020. Gernot Rohr never invited again him again before he was sacked in December 2021.

Dessers football career received a great commendation when he joined Eredivisie’s FC Utrecht in the 2019/2020 seasons. After the season was abandoned, Dessers was jointly awarded top goalscorer in the dutch league with fifteen goals each. On 30 June 2020, Dessers moved to Genk of Belgium on a four-year deal. He would however returned to the Netherlands to join Feyenoord on loan with an option to buy. He scored his first goal for the club on 19 September, scoring Feyenoord’s fourth goal in a 0–4 away win against PSV Eindhoven. The 27-year-old enjoyed a memorable time at the Stadion Feijenoord despite a frustrating start. Dessers was the star of the show for Feyenoord in their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign. The Nigerian scored 10 goals in 12 appearances to emerge top scorer in the competition. His goals inspired Feyenoord to the final of that competition where they loss 1-0 to Roma of Italy.

Dessers was very instrumental to the UEFA campaign of De Stadion club for their fourth European trophy after 20 years. Dessers opened his Europa Conference goal chart in a Group E clash against fellow compatriots, Taiwo Awoniyi’s German club, Union Berlin. He, exemplifying his loan deal with a consistent form, prompting the Feyenoord fans to organise a crowdfunding system to permanent his stay, scored successive braces against Slavia Prague and Marseille. Though the Belgium-born 27-year-old goal-poacher fired blank in the final where they loss 1-0 to Roma of Italy, his 10 goals tally was unbeaten to earn him the highest goalscorer accolade.

Despite his superb UEFA campaign, the Super Eagle who featured 47 times for Feyenoord in all competitions, recording a total of 21 goals, scored 9 goals in 27 appearances in the Dutch Eredivisie. Week in, week out, Cyriel Dessers continued to amaze Feyenoord fans and the football community with his goals and exemplary performance in the Dutch league. He won the hearts and love of the fans of the Pride of South with his quality finishing. Towards the end of the 2021/22 seasons, Feyenoord Rotterdam, played a two-all draw with PSV Eindhoven with Dessers scoring a brace to dent the title hopes of the Peasants. a remarkable and memorable feat indeed. Coincidentally, Dessers’ late-minute brace saw him record his 100th international career goal at De Kuip which he acknowledged that there is no better place than Kuip to record such a feat. “No better place to score your 100th official goal than in an exploding Kuip,” Dessers tweeted after the match.

Dessers, who has been a clinical striker for Feyenoord, was open to making a permanent switch during the end of the summer should the Club de Meuse pay the sum of €4m to secure his services. Feyenoord, would however announced that they will not be taking up the option to sign him on a permanent deal as they can’t afford the €4m requested by Genk. The striker took to the social media to thank the club and fans for their support during his time at the club following the announcement. “Thanks for all the support and love this season, it was an honor to play for you! Hopefully see you soon. Long live Feyenoord 1!” Dessers tweeted.

Dessers goals haul with Feyenoord earned him a return to the Nigerian national team in May 2022, and he would score Nigeria’s only goal in the 2-1 loss to Mexico on 27 May 2022 in an international friendly game in the US.

By Adedamola Fatona

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