The exploits of African players in English football cannot be overemphasized, particularly since the advent of the lucrative English Premier League (EPL).
Since August 19, 1992, when Zimbabwean Peter Ndlovu made history as the first African to feature in the new division, there has been a continuous influx of talented players from the continent into England.
From Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba to Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, African players have been pivotal to the league’s popularity.
And as football adherents across the globe savour the enthusiasm thrown up by the hugely anticipated 2021-2022 campaign, one of the players attracting rave reviews is the Nigerian midfielder Frank Onyeka.
After three years of professional football in Denmark with heavyweights FC Midtjylland, the former FC Ebiede star has hitched his wagon to newly promoted EPL side Brentford, in a highly celebrated five-year contract.
The five-year deal reportedly represented a real show of commitment by Brentford, as they aim to pin down the 23-year-old for some of the best years of his career.
Onyeka, who has Champions League experience from his time with Midtjylland, is imbued with impressive defensive qualities.
Only one other player in the Champions League last season averaged more combined tackles and interceptions than Onyeka, who registered, on average, six in each game he played in Europe’s premier club competition, according to the sports analytics company Opta.
‘We think he is a strong addition to the squad, and we’re looking forward to working with him. He’s a very dynamic player,’ Brentford coach Thomas Frank told the club’s official website.
‘Frank plays as an eight in our system. He’s very good at getting from box to box and will be valuable to us when we don’t have the ball.’
He added: ‘He has come from the Danish league and was one of the best midfield players in that league. We think he has the potential to develop further. All the coaches here are looking forward to working with Frank and pushing him to a higher level.’