Born in Belgium 22 years ago to a Belgian father and a Nigerian mother, FC Utrecht goal machine Cyriel Dessers answers questions from Sportive23’s editorial staff Ogunwale Oluwajoba on his career, ambition and Nigerian roots.
Cyriel Dessers was a stand out player for Dutch club NAC Breda last season, helping them secure promotion to the Eredivisie.
He contributed to 42 goals (29 goals, 13 assists), which got him a transfer to FC Utrecht, who will play in next season’s Europa League.
Congratulations on your move from NAC BREDA to FC Utrecht.
Cyriel Dessers: Thanks a lot
You are a striker who has scored a lot of goals for your former clubs. Why did you decide to sign for FC Utrecht who are traditionally not among the ‘big clubs in the Dutch league’?
Cyriel Dessers: For the last years they’re solid in the top 5, and they are the only team capable of making it difficult for the traditional top 3 (Ajax, PSV, Feyernoord).
It’s a wonderful club with a top stadium, great fans and history. Also for next season we’re playing Europa League, which is a big bonus.
How does it feel knowing you will be playing against big teams like Ajax and PSV next season?
Cyriel Dessers: I will enjoy playing in these stadiums with 50,000 fans, but I won’t be there for only sightseeing. If we go there with Utrecht, we will try everything to beat these teams.
— Cyriel Dessers (@CyrielDessers) May 28, 2017
Your team FC Utrecht will be playing in the Europa league next season, how will you approach the competition?
Cyriel Dessers: It’s a big opportunity to show us to Europe. We have to enjoy it, but we have to try to go as far as possible and that’s possible with the qualities of the team.
Now let’s go back a little bit. How did your footballing career start?
Cyriel Dessers: I was playing in Belgium (OHL in Leuven), while I was studying in law school. When I scored 30 goals in the second team, Lokeren (5th place + Europa League) was at that moment a very good team with a top coach and came to pick me up, to give me my first professional contract.
How have you been able to manage the transition of moving from the Jupiler league (Belgium) to the Dutch league at such a young age?
Cyriel Dessers: I think it was fun to meet new people, other visions on football. Dutch people are easy going so that made everything more easy.
As a striker who has scored a lot of goals for the teams you have played for so far. Which striker do you model your game on?
Cyriel Dessers: That’s a really difficult question. It’s also difficult to say that about myself, but I can tell you that I listen and look a lot to Henry, Drogba and Lukaku
What are your targets personally and for the club next season?
Cyriel Dessers: I hope I can develop myself, become better and be important for the team.
Utrecht is very ambitious, wants to play for the 4th place and get as far as possible in the cup and Europa league.
— NAC Breda ?? (@NACnl) May 22, 2017
The English Premier league is the most popular league in the world, do you see yourself testing your strengths there in the future?
Cyriel Dessers: I think it is a dream for every player to play there. If I keep getting better, one day I will get there. Let’s hope!
Do you follow Super Eagles matches?
Cyriel Dessers: Yes of course, I watch the selections and I follow the games. Also with Onyekuru, Moses Simon and Troost-Ekong playing in Belgium now.
The Super Eagles are currently topping their World Cup qualifying group, do you think they have what it takes to finish top?
Cyriel Dessers: For sure, I think a team and a country as Nigeria belongs to the World Cup. They have the qualities for it, so I hope that they keep the first place.
Do you have a favorite Nigerian player past or present?
Cyriel Dessers: As a kid I was always a big fan of Okocha and Kanu.
Have you tasted Nigerian jollof or any other Nigerian delicacy?
Cyriel Dessers: My grandmother can cook Nigerian, so I tasted it before
(Favourite player) Messi or Ronaldo who is the best?
Cyriel Dessers: Hahahahah this is a difficult one. I choose Thierry Henry
Who are you tipping to win next year’s World Cup?
Cyriel Dessers: In first place of course Belgium or Nigeria, but I think Brazil or France will be also very close. It would be nice if an African country can go far in the tournament.
If you were not a footballer what will you’ve been doing?
Cyriel Dessers: As I said earlier, I was studying in law school was to work for United Nations as an ambassador.
The season is over, what are your summer plans?
Cyriel Dessers: We only have 3 weeks off, so for the moment I’m on holiday at Curacao. But when i’m back, will start with my preparation for the upcoming season
Any words for your fans?
Cyriel Dessers: I want to thank my fans for the support they have been giving me. I hope I can give them back a lot, in the form of good prestations and hopefully goals.
Thank you for doing this interview with us, we look forward to hearing again from you soon.
Cyriel Dessers: With pleasure