When Nigeria won the African Nations Cup at the start of the year they did so with the right blend of experience, youthful exuberance and pride to take them all the way.
Oh … and of course, an absolute on-field hero.
Sunday Mba came out of the competition into the spotlight, after a campaign where he was the undisputed hero.
His goal against the Ivory Coast saw them through to the final; his goal against Burkina Faso won them the competition.
The attacking midfielder was immediately in high demand, despite what was a tricky contract situation in his homeland between Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers.
Bayer Leverkusen were mentioned as a possibility as well as a number of Bundesliga outfits. In the Premier League it was Arsenal who were said to be keeping tabs on him, along with his international team-mate Godfrey Oboabona.
But in the end, he chose a rather different destination to continue his career … Ligue 2 side CA Bastia.
At the end of August he signed for the club, in a one-year deal from Warri Wolves.
But the deal did not go through.
Despite being pictured at the club holding up a shirt with his name on, the proposed move collapsed. The Wolves say they pulled the plug on the deal, with the chairman Amaju Pinnick stating:
"I sincerely felt sorry for the player, but when we couldn't agree on their proposal we had to pull the plug.’’
But it then emerged that the player, and his agents, pulled out of the deal - suggesting that some of the clauses in the contract were not in the best interests of his career.
But finally Mba has made a move to Europe - but not with Arsenal, Leverkusen or CA Bastia - but to the latter’s local rival and Ligue 1 outfit SC Bastia.
The rivals of the team who had originally snapped him up have moved to jump in the grave of their less illustrious neighbours and according to Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi and reports in Nigeria he will make a move to Corsica in January.
However Keshi never confirmed exactly which Bastia team it was - so right now, despite the reports in Nigeria suggesting it is SC it could very well be CA ... the confusion continues.
With the World Cup in Brazil approaching fast it is a risky move - as he is certainly not assured of first-team football at the mid-table Ligue 1 side.
But it could prove the stepping stone to a successful career on the continent - as Michael Essien, Alex Song and Roger Milla have before via the club.
image: © attawayjl