The third-tier of the continent’s club competitions returns this Thursday, and a Nigerian international is hoping to make it to the finals in May
Nigerian striker Cyriel Dessers believes that Rotterdam-based side Feyenoord stand the chance of going all the way and winning the inaugural edition of the Europa Conference League.
Feyenoord face Czech Republic champions Slavia Prague for the third time this season in the quarterfinals of the competition today, with a big chance to progress to the semifinals.
Both teams met earlier in the group stages, where the Dutch side won 2-1 in Rotterdam before playing out a 2-2 draw in Prague.
Dessers thinks that could be both an advantage and a disadvantage for his side when hostilities resume at de Kuip later tonight.
“It’s an advantage because we know them well. We have already shown that we can beat Slavia Prague,” Dessers told RTV Rijnmond via FR12.
“The downside is that you come up against a team that also knows you and we also know it’s a tough opponent. They are difficult to beat and they have shown that all season.”
Dessers has been in fine form for Feyenoord since his loan switch from KRC Genk in the summer and he could be crucial for the Dutch side’s hopes.
The 27-year-old scored the two goals that secured the away draw – and top spot in their group – at the Sinobo Stadium against tonight’s opponents in November.
And he would be hoping to recreate that beautiful moment for Feyenoord’s fans.
“For me personally, that was a very nice moment,” the Super Eagles striker added.
“Perhaps my best evening here at Feyenoord. I am especially happy that we were able to secure the group win there. That was a very nice moment with the team and also all the supporters who were there. That makes it very special.”
Feyenoord have not won a European title since 2002 when they lifted the UEFA Cup and the club’s fans are starting to believe that their twenty-year wait is about to end.
Jose Mourinho’s Roma, Leicester City, PSV, and Marseille will all be equally convinced of their chances of lifting the Conference League by May.
But an aggregate win over Slavia could set a title charge rolling and Dessers has revealed that he and his Feyenoord teammates are ready to seize the opportunity to rewrite the record books.
“It’s not very pronounced in the dressing room, but I think everyone feels that we can make history,” Dessers continued.
“That is something special. That’s an opportunity that not so many players or teams get in their careers.
“In that respect, we feel that this is something big. We want to show that we have faith,” he concluded.