Onyeka believes AFCON rivals fear Nigeria's attacking talent
Frank Onyeka believes other countries fear Nigeria's wealth of talent as they target their first triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations since 2013.
Always one of the favourites for the tournament — which kicks off on January 9 — hopes are rising that the Super Eagles will claim continental glory given their host of stars currently thriving in Europe.
Napoli sensation Victor Osimhen is considered one of the world's best strikers, while Victor Boniface and Taiwo Awoniyi are also impressing in Germany and England respectively.
Onyeka, 25, is expected to feature as Nigeria take on Lesotho this afternoon and Zimbabwe on Sunday, the final two fixtures before their AFCON opener against Equatorial Guinea on January 14.
Ahead of those 2026 World Cup qualifiers, the Brentford midfielder told LiveScore: "I think we have a good team that can go and do it. Most of the other countries, they are scared of Nigeria.
"I say that because of the squad we've got, we can go there and win it.
"You've obviously got Osimhen, Boniface, Awoniyi — they are all doing well in Europe.
"So we've got a good team and we can go and win.
"We have plenty of past players who have done well for Nigeria but now for us as players, we need to focus on ourselves and as a team to do what we need to do to make our nation proud."
Pressure is on
Despite Nigeria's football-obsessed culture and rich history of legends of the game, failure to qualify for AFCON in 2015 and 2017 was a major setback, as was their last-16 exit in 2021.
That has only ramped up the pressure on the current squad ahead of the tournament in the Ivory Coast — but it is something Onyeka is relishing.
He added: "We do [have pressure] because Nigeria is massive, we have a population of about 200 million.
"So every game, every tournament, they always expect us to win. There's always pressure for us.
"But it's good because you can see the country, they all watch football and they want us to do it.
"So that's a good thing for us and motivation to do our best."
First Nigeria goal
Onyeka, affectionally known as Frank the Tank, scored his first Nigeria goal in the last international break during a 3-2 friendly win over Mozambique.
Describing that moment, the all-action maestro said: "It was special. I was worried it would not come but I'm happy it did.
"I scored and we got the win, so I was really happy. I'm really proud and I know my family were also proud.
"It's a big thing as a Nigeria player, getting your first goal for the national team so I'm really, really happy about the goal."
What a journey
Onyeka's journey to becoming a regular in the Premier League and for his country started with playing in the streets of Benin City as a youngster.
But the 14-cap international was always confident in his ability to make it to the top.
Onyeka reflected: "Every player back home has the dream of playing at the top level like the Premier League.
"When I was growing up, I always trusted myself that I was going to be playing for my country, representing them at a tournament.
"It was the goal to play at the top but you never know if you'll get there.
"But I'm happy I made the step up really quick."