The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has expressed his condolences to the family of the late Ghanaian footballer, Christian Atsu, who died in the earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria on February 6, this year.
The remains of the 31-year-old Black Stars and former Chelsea and Newcastle United player were discovered in the rubbles of his apartment at Hatay, after almost 12 days of search by a rescue team.
In a tweet over the weekend, after the confirmation of the death of the Hatayspor player, the President made reference to Job’s plight in the Bible, saying “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away …Job 1:21.”
“On behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, I extend sincere, heartfelt condolences to the widow, children and family of our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, on the sad news of his death,” it said.
President Akufo-Addo eulogised the professional capabilities of the late international footballer and noted that his demise created a void which would be difficult to fill.
“Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace. He will be sorely missed.
May his soul rest in the Bosom of the Almighty until the Last Day of the Resurrection when we shall all meet again. Amen!” the tweet said.
Similarly, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, condoled with the widow, family, friends and fans of the late footballer.
“In a nervous state, we were hoping for the best of news. Now, we are a nation in grief, following news of the tragic demise of our illustrious son, Christian Atsu.
“My deepest condolences to his widow, family and friends. Rest in peace, Christian”, the tweet said.
Heartbroken that hope and prayers for his survival could not become a reality, politicians, celebrities, footballers and fans have flooded social media with tributes to eulogise him.
Former President John Dramani Mahama, in a tweet, thanked God for the life of the footballer and conveyed the condolences of his family to the bereaved family and football fraternity.
“RIP Christian Atsu! We all held our breaths, and we prayed as we heard the miracles of people pulled out of the rubble.
“We prayed that ours would be one of those miracles, too. Alas, it was not to be. But in all, we give thanks to the almighty God for giving Atsu to us even for the short 31 years of his life,” he said.
Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang said: This is not the news we wanted to hear at this time. We send our condolences to the family and loved ones. Rest in peace, Christian Atsu.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports expressed sadness at the discovery of the remains of Christian Atsu from the rubbles of his apartment.
“The tragic passing of Christian Atsu, a committed servant of our national football team, has left the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the sports fraternity and indeed, the nation in grief.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his widow, family and loved ones. May his soul rest in peace,” it said in a tweet.
The Ghana Football Association wrote “TheGFA has received the sad news of the recovery of the body of Christian Atsu from the rubble following the earthquake that struck Southern and Central Turkey on Monday, February 6, 2023. May his Soul Rest in Peace!”
Mubarak Wakaso, a former Black Stars player and closest friend of Atsu took to Twitter with a short message saying ‘Rest Well’ with teary and heartbreak icons.
Former Black Stars player, Michael Essien on Twitter also said “Rest Well King”.
Asamoah Gyan wrote “RIP, BROTHER”.
Other footballers who eulogised the deceased included John Terry, Felix Afena Ohene-Gyan, Baba Abdul Rahaman, Samuel Inkoom and Gideon Mensah. Former Black Stars Coach Kwesi Appiah also mourned the memory of the late Atsu.
Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak football clubs also condoled with the bereaved family.
Nigerian comedian and skit maker, Emmanuel Iwueke, popularly known as Craze Clown has revealed that the late Ghanaian footballer, Christian Atsu has been supporting him for years.
Taking to his Twitter handle, the comedian stated that he had reached out to Christian Atsu in 2015 for help following the death of his father and the late Atsu offered to pay his fees until he graduated from school.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey’s southeast and neighbouring Syria on February 6, killing more than 45,000 people and leaving more than a million people homeless along with an economic cost expected to run into billions of dollars.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR