The solemn atmosphere at the forecourt of the State House, Accra, Saturday noon turned into a state of wailing when the hearse conveying the mortal remains of Christian Atsu Twasam, Ghana’s former winger, made way out of the funeral grounds on Friday, March 17, 2023, to his hometown Dogo Bome, in the Greater Accra Region, for burial.
The state-assisted funeral was attended by the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, John Dramani Mahama, former President, and Chief Justice, Frema Akosua Osei-Opare, and Vice President of Hatayspor, Mustafa Özat, the last team that Atsu played for.
Others were Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Okraku, Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, Kennedy Agyapong, Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, and Gizella Agbotui, MP, Awutu Senya West.
The international community, including some former and current football players, football administrators and managers, as well as the media, local and international, joined the family, friends, and the clergy to bid farewell to the late football star.
Former Black Stars players, including Sulley Muntari, Yaw Preko, Baffour Gyan, Richard Kingston, Samuel Osei Kuffour, Augustine Arhinful, and John Paintsil, were also there to support the family and friends as Atsu journeys to eternity.
Some orphans from Becky’s Foundation in Senya Beraku in the Central Region, who were being supported by Atsu in their education, described him as loving.
There was a wreath laying ceremony at the funeral characterised by traditional music and dance by the fallen hero’s tribesmen.
Chorale music and dirges were performed by the Police and Army Bands.
Mr. Ussif (Sports Minister) laid a wreath on behalf of the State, Nene Twasam for the family, and Jushua Rupio Twasam on behalf of the children. His widow, Marie Claire Rupio, also laid one.
Others were Mr Okraku for the football fraternity, Archbishop Kwesi Ampofo for the Christian community and Nene Agubey Obitsere III, Mankralo for the Ga-Dangbe State, for the Traditional community.
Mr Özat laid a bouquet on behalf of his last Club and the Turkish Embassy.
Mourners, who were all dressed in red and black, could not hold back their tears as tributes poured in at the funeral grounds.
The tributes were centred on the generosity, humility, and love shown by the talented footballer on and off the pitch.
“…In life I love you dearly, in death I do the same… You did not go alone, for part of me went with you. Your smile, your love I see in our children’s smiles,” Marie-Claire Rupio, his widow, said, as she sorrowfully read her tribute.
The Sport Minister, who read a tribute for the State, said: “Even at the peak of his career, Astu remained himself and was never overtaken by pride, arrogance or indiscipline,” adding that the national hero’s legacy would remain as an inspiration.
His alma mater, Potsin T.I. Ahmadiya Secondary School, described him as an exemplary person and philanthropist, who was always willing and ready to sacrifice for the School.
The School said it was painful that just a few days after Atsu had sent a message to support his alma mater’s developmental projects, he died tragically.
Archbishop Ampofo of the Lighthouse Chapel International, who preached at the funeral service, reminded people of the life after death, and urged them to live a righteous life as no one knew the day of death just like Atsu.
“Prepare for you do not know who’s next [to die],” Archbishop Ampofo, said to the mourners.
Born to Mr and Mrs Atsu Twasam on January 10, 1992, the 31-year-old former winger of Ghana’s Black Stars, played 107 games for Newcastle and had spells with Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth.
He made 65 appearances for Ghana, and helped the national side reached the finals of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea – where he was honoured with the best goal and player of the tournament award.
Atsu died under the rubble in an earthquake that struck Turkey last month. His corpse was later flown to Ghana for the final funeral rites and burial.