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Frank on bench as Nigeria win

Onyeka and Nigeria start Africa Cup of Nations campaign

12 January 2022

Nigeria started their Africa Cup of Nations with a win over Egypt yesterday. The match was settled by a single goal, scored by Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho. The goal came on the half hour and was enough to give Nigeria a 1-0 win in their Group D encounter. Brentford midfield player Frank Onyeka was part of the squad for the match but was an unused substitute.

The tournament started at the weekend and will run until the start of February. Nigeria and Egypt have been placed in Group D along with Guinea-Bissau and Sudan. Those sides drew 0-0 last night. Nigeria’s upcoming matches are against Sudan on Saturday, 15 January, and Guinea-Bissau next Wednesday, 19 January.

It has been a low-scoring tournament so far, with only one game producing more than a single goal. There have been nine scored across the nine games with defences on top. The 24 sides will be reduced to 16 to compete in the knock-out stages. The Second Round begins on 23 January and the Africa Cup of Nations Final will be held on Sunday 6 February. Frank will return to Brentford when Nigeria are eliminated.

The midfield player has been a regular for The Bees in the Premier League this season. He has been involved in 17 of Brentford’s 19 Premier League games, starting 11 of them. He was an unused substitute in one other match. Frank has made 21 appearances in all competitions since joining from FC Midtjylland in the summer and contributed two assists.

Frank made his international debut for Nigeria last year and now has four caps for his country. Three of them have come since he joined The Bees. When he played for Nigeria in October, Frank became the 50th Brentford player to have won a full international cap while on our books.

He could join another elite group of players in the coming days. Only two others – Kamohelo Mokotjo, of South Africa, and Julian Jeanvier for Guinea – have played in the Africa Cup of Nations. Both did so in 2019. Frank may also join a list that also includes Mathias Jensen, Christian Nørgaard, Henrik Dalsgaard, Marcus Forss and Halil Dervişoğlu, to have appeared in an international tournament.

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