Burkina Faso coach Paul Put says it is hard to see his injured influential striker Alain Traore leave the team in Nelspruit to return to France.
Traore departs South Africa late on Saturday to head back to his French club Lorient to seek treatment for a thigh injury he sustained on January 29 in Burkina Faso's final Group C match against Zambia.
"He is leaving tonight (Saturday) for Lorient because Lorient wants to get started with the treatment," Put said.
"So I can understand and allowed the player to go because it is important for him."
Traore's three goals in two Group C games prior to this weekend’s 2013 Africa Cup quarterfinal matches saw him lead the top scorer’s charts at the tournament.
The 24-year-old striker lasted just seven minutes played after kickoff into the final Group C game against Zambia at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit that ended 0-0.
His injury will see him out of action for at least three weeks and will miss Sunday’s quarterfinal clash against Togo at Mbombela Stadium.
"On the other hand we can count on his support," Put said.
"The reality is football can be hard you can be a good player but unfortunately when you are injured you cannot show performance anymore.
"It is hard but he has to leave."