Heracles striker Cyriel Dessers, the Dutch league’s leading scorer, says he is playing the best football of his career and hopes his form could earn a first Nigeria cap. The 24-year-old, who was born in Leuven to a Belgian father and qualifies for Nigeria through his mother, committed his international allegiance to the West African nation in December. Dessers, who has started every game and has 14 goals and five assists this season, hopes his form may catch the attention of Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr.
“There’s been communication but I’ve got to keep playing as well as I can for Heracles, and hopefully that will happen soon,” he said. “I know it’s a strong ambition of mine, but sometimes you need to stay focused and not get distracted as a professional footballer.” Three-time champions Nigeria host bottom side, Sierra Leone, in back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games in March, with the reverse fixture scheduled for the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown. The Super Eagles have maximum points from two matches – after wins over Benin at home and Lesotho away – to stay top of Group L. Dessers said being selected by Nigeria would be “amazing” and he would be honoured to have the chance of playing for the Super Eagles in the race for the continental showpiece event. “Everyone in the family is hoping – and to be involved with Nigeria would be incredibly amazing for my career, but I’ve got to keep proving myself first,” he added. “To get a chance to stand at the door is a step forward. You start every day hoping for success at club level. If you keep working hard, hopefully you make some life goals come true.” Regarded as a strong centre-forward and standing at a little over 6 feet tall, Dessers started his career at local Belgian side OH Leuven but only made a solitary senior appearance against Mons in March 2014. He then joined local rivals Lokeren at the start of the 2014/15 season, where he enjoyed regular football and scored seven goals in 40 appearances across two seasons. Dessers crossed the border to the Netherlands and joined second-tier side NAC Breda in the summer of 2016, helping the team to immediate promotion with 29 goals in 40 matches. A spell at FC Utrecht led the towering player to Heracles this summer and his 17 goals in 26 appearances have brought praise from the fans and media back in Belgium.