Christian Atsu’s body returns home to Ghana

The body of former Newcastle United footballer Christian Atsu has been returned to his native Ghana. He died in the earthquake that hit Turkey two weeks ago,

The transportation of the 31 year old’s coffin was carried out by members of Ghana’s armed forces after the flight arrived in Accra last night. Atsu was discovered dead beneath his residence in southern Turkey, where he played for the Hatayspor club.

The fleet-footed winger earned 65 caps for Ghana’s national team, aiding in their appearance in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final. In addition to Newcastle, Atsu played for English Premier League teams Chelsea, Everton, and Bournemouth.

Ghana’s Vice-President Mahamudu Bawmia said…

“We hoped against hope, every day that passed, we prayed and prayed. But alas, when he was found, he was no more.”

Bawmia added the late footballer was much loved and would be sorely missed…

“It is a painful loss, a very painful one.”

He promised Atsu would be given a “befitting” burial.

Following the destructive 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 6 February that caused the collapse of his apartment in Antakya, Hatay province, Atsu had been reported missing.

The Hatayspor club initially claimed that the footballer had been rescued with injuries, but later altered their statement. Atsu’s agent confirmed the tragic news of his passing on Saturday via Twitter.

The earthquake, which resulted in the death of over 44,000 people across southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, has caused immense devastation in the region. The family of the late footballer, accompanied by Ghana’s ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, returned his remains to Ghana from Turkey.

Upon arrival at Accra, government officials, representatives from the Ghana Football Association, and Atsu’s relatives were present to receive his coffin, which was then transported to a military hospital morgue. The football world has expressed its condolences and tribute to the fallen player.

On Saturday, his wife Marie-Claire Rupio and their three children joined fans at St James’ Park marking a minute’s silence in Newcastle, before the side’s Premier League match against Liverpool. Atsu played for Newcastle from 2016 to 2021.

Atsu’s face was shown on the big screen and away fans chanted “you’ll never walk alone,” before breaking into applause.

Yesterday, Mohammed Kudus, the captain of Ghana’s national team, paid homage to his former teammate by scoring a goal for his Dutch team Ajax, then revealing a white shirt with “RIP Atsu” written on it.

Arms Around The Child, a charity for which Atsu had been an ambassador since 2016, praised the late footballer and identified him as the “main benefactor” of a Ghanaian school that caters to abandoned children, orphans, the chronically ill, and those rescued from trafficking.

Atsu, who came from a humble background in Ghana, followed his aspirations and utilized his talent and influence to assist others, according to the organization.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia, mostly in China. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.