Nigeria’s forward Sunday Mba during the 2013 African Cup of Nations quarter final between Ivory Coast and Nigeria
*As player heads to France
Super Eagles chief coach, Stephen Keshi has allowed Sunday Mba to leave the team’s training camp for the African Nations Champion-ship (CHAN) to finalise a move to French side CA Bastia with an affirmation that he will carry on without the player.
Nigerian side Warri Wolves rejected a bid from the French Ligue 2 club in September, for the man who scored the Africa Cup of Nations winner.
The Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi was philosophical about losing Mba for January’s CHAN finals in South Africa.
“The CHAN team will have to move on,” Keshi told BBC Sport.
“There have been other players who have left [the CHAN squad] before Mba.”
It means that Keshi will now have to find a replacement for Nigeria’s debut appearance at the finals of the tournament for locally-based players only.
“We would have loved to have him with us but we can only wish him well and hope this will enable him stay in great shape,” Keshi added.
“When he told us he was leaving, all we did was wish him well and grant him permission to leave the camp.”
The news comes just weeks after Keshi lamented his struggle to raise a formidable squad for the CHAN after several key players moved overseas.
And assistant coach Daniel Amokachi says they are keen to strengthen their squad in the absence of the Nations Cup hero.
“We have resigned ourselves to fate and working hard to discover those who can fill Mba’s shoes” Amokachi explained.
Nigeria begin their CHAN campaign against Mali on 11 January before taking on Mozambique and finally hosts South Africa Group A.
The final will be played on 1 February at the Cape Town Stadium. The inaugural CHAN tournament was held in Ivory Coast in 2009, with the second edition staged in Sudan two years later.
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