NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) officials have stepped up moves to woo Reading playmaker Ovie Ejaria and Heracles of the Dutch league striker Cyriel Dessers ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers which begin in March.
Like all the other African teams, Nigeria is due to start her 2022 World Cup qualifiers in march and the NFF is keen to get its squad in shape. Head coach Gernot Rohr is keen to lock down both players who have been in great form this season but both of them need to switch their allegiance to Nigeria through Fifa having played for the English and Belgian youth teams respectively.
Ejaria, 22, has been one of Reading’s standout performers this season with the Liverpool loanee having three goals and three assists in 22 Championship outings to his name so far. Operating as the team’s playmaker, Ejaria is key for Reading as the team pursues a Championship play-off place.
Mr Rohr currently only has Alex Iwobi as a recognised playmaker and the Everton midfielder is currently out injured, although he is likely to be back this month. His other option is Ebere Eze of Queens park Rangers, who is yet to decide on whether he wants to commit his international future to Nigeria or to England.
Dessers, who has had a blistering campaign with Heracles in the Dutch Eredivisie, is the current leading scorer in the Netherlands with 12 goals in 18 games. He has already expressed his desire to represent Nigeria ahead of Belgium, having attracted interest from both nations.
“After series of discussion with the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, I have decided to fully commit myself to Nigeria and the Super Eagles. I am going to work to be part of the team and fight for more success for the country,” Dessers added.
Both players will have to go through the formal switch process with Fifa, which can sometimes take up to 12 months. This will mean that they will not be available for the March qualifiers but can join the Super Eagles later on in the qualification series.