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Afcon should have been Dessers' opportunity to be Super Eagles wildcard

6:00 PM GMT+8 08/01/2022
Cyriel Dessers - PSV 2021-22
The former FC Utrecht striker could have been handed a golden opportunity to lead the Super Eagles attack in Cameroon

Following the recent developments between Odion Ighalo, his club Al-Shabab of Saudi Arabia and the Nigerian Football Federation, Feyenoord Rotterdam's Cyriel Dessers had appeared well placed to replace the veteran striker.

The Belgium-born Nigerian has not featured for the Super Eagles since 2020 but has been biding his time while putting in decent performances at club level.

Interim manager Augustine Eguavoen had deemed him a better fit for his plans than FC Lorient striker Terem Moffi who would have been next in line after being included in the original 40-man list, unlike Dessers.

The 27-year-old has been adapting to life in the Eredivisie well, popping up with useful cameos for Feyenoord. In the Conference League, where he's the Dutch side's top scorer with four goals from six games.

Dessers has been impressive this season as an impact sub, and he could have been a priceless wildcard for the Super Eagles.

The Feyenoord man has a powerful shot and is an expert dribbler. He's also very good at playmaking which could have provided several attacking options for the squad.

The Belgium-born striker has only played briefly for the Super Eagles and as such, opposing teams would not have had much information on him. 

He offers something a little different from Nigeria's existing strikers, and having been afforded a rare opportunity, would surely have been hungry to prove his worth and perhaps stake a claim for a more regular spot.

He would have been one of the few players in the squad who have played in European competitions which means he could have provided some invaluable experience that the squad could have benefitted from.

Having also been a star in said competitions, it should have been a massive opportunity for the striker to raise his stock and return to Feyenoord a hero.

It also goes without saying that the Afcon could have been his big audition for a more prominent role in the squad under the new regime of Jose Peseiro, who will be taking notes at the tournament as he prepares for the coming months.

Nigeria is blessed with high flying attackers, and with so many of them ahead of Dessers, the 27-year-old had a valuable opportunity amidst the absences of Paul Onuachu, Odion Ighalo, Terem Moffi, Victor Osimhen and Emmanuel Dennis.

With the World Cup on the horizon, it would have been a vital opportuntiy for him to stake a claim, but Nigerai will now never know what might have been and what Dessers could have achieved in the rarefied environment of the Nations Cup.