Mourners across the country trooped to the Adjiringanor Park in Accra on Saturday as the one-week funeral observance rite for the late former Ghana international Christian Atsu was held.
The former Chelsea player was confirmed dead on February 18, 2023, after his body was found under rubble in the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey on February 6, 2023.
Atsu was 31, and the family had set Friday, March 17, 2023, for his final funeral rites, which would be held at the forecourt of the State House in Accra.
Mr. Ussif Mustapha, the Youth and Sports Minister, Mr. Kurt Okraku,President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, Former GFA President, as well as some members of the football fraternity were present to commiserate with the bereaved family.
Speaking in an interview with GNA Sports, Mr. Oduro Sarfo, a member of the GFA Executive Council, said the good deeds of Atsu made him “superhuman” and the football association, together with other stakeholders, would ensure a befitting burial for him.
“People loved Atsu for his good deeds, and he deserves to get a befitting burial. He was not a controversial person and also wanted to give back to society.
“As the date for his burial has been set, we all have to ensure he gets a befitting burial because he has paid his dues to his country and deserves every honour,” he said.
Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, former Minister of Trade and Industry, who made a GHC 5,000 donation at the one-week observance, stated the commitment of Atsu to the national team.
“We are aware of Atsu’s commitment to the national team and his humility and discipline. He was a kind-hearted person, and I hope all those who are privileged to be celebrities emulate the life of Christian Atsu.
“The tribute that has been pouring out from all over the world is a testament to the good deeds of Atsu, and I would like to sympathise with his family, wife, and children,” he said.
Many former teammates of Christian Atsu, including Asamoah Gyan, Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari, Haminu Dramani, John Mensah, John Painstil, Samuel Osei Kuffour, and Tony Baffoe, were all present to commiserate with the family.
Others present at the one-week observance include Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Sam Johnson, Richard Kingson, Derek Boateng, Isaac Vorsah, and Jerry Akaminko, among many others.
Atsu had an illustrious club career, having featured for Chelsea, Newcastle, Al-Raed, Vitesse Rio Ave, Malaga, and Porto, with his last team being Hatayspor.
He made 65 appearances for the Black Stars of Ghana, scoring nine goals.