Belgium may snatch Dessers from Nigeria



New Genk striker Cyriel Dessers might switch allegiance to Belgium after pledging international allegiance to Nigeria, MADE Magazine reports.

Dessers, 24,  was born in Leuven, Belgium to a Belgian father and Nigerian mother and had committed his international future to Nigeria.

The striker, who was joint top scorer with 15 goals in the Dutch League last season with Heracles Almelo, joined Belgian Pro League club Genk in June after spending just a season with in the Eredivise.

He had trained with Belgium’s U=21 national team and was an unused substitute when they faced Moldova in a European U-21 Championships qualifier five years ago, before he was called up for the Super Eagles 2021 Africa Cup of Nations double qualifiers against Sierra Leone in March, which was called off due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dessers took to Twitter to express his delight after getting his first call-up from Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr.

He was expected to compete with the likes of Victor Osimhen, who scored in Nigeria’s opening matches, Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City and experienced striker Ahmed Musa for places in Rohr’s starting line-up.

“So honoured and proud. Can’t wait to wear the Green-White jersey and meet the team!  @NGSuperEagles #naija.” he posted on his Twitter account.

But reports say the former NAC Breda striker is now ready to wait till September, when Belgium will be on duty, to make a final decision on his international future.

“One of my best friends is a video analyst of the Red Devils (Belgium), so I sometimes catch up on something, but I have not yet spoken to Roberto Martinez myself,” Dessers told Het Belang van Limburg.

“I now focus on Genk and make goals, the rest will come naturally. That has always been my motto. At the moment, the national team is not an issue, we will not know until September.

“Maybe I will be summoned somewhere, maybe not.”

The latest development comes as a shock to many of the country’s football faithful, who had waited eagerly to see him bring more competitive edge to the Eagles attack.

In previous interviews, Dessers had stated that the decision to dump Belgium for Nigeria was personal.

“This is something I want and I would make both my mum and dad proud by achieving my dream playing for Nigeria,” he stated.

“I know the country and what has been going on. I’ve not been there yet, but I want to go there as soon as possible.

“It would be a big honour to play for Nigeria and it would be a no-brainer for me. I was born and grew up in Belgium, but when I look in the mirror or to my character, I can see that I’m Nigerian/African. My dream has always been to represent Nigeria, wear the green and white jersey and put smiles on the faces of Nigerians. Hopefully, one day that will happen.

“Goals, that’s what I’m good at. There is so much quality in the Nigerian squad, but I hope to get a chance and then show how I can also contribute to the team.”