President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, will join hundreds of mourners to pay their last respect to the late former player of the Black Stars, Christian Atsu Twasam, in a state-assisted funeral ceremony slated for the forecourt of the State House, today.
Also expected in attendance are the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, Members of Parliament, Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Mr Kurt Okraku, former Black Stars players as well as football fans in both Ghana and abroad.
Funeral organisers also confirmed to the Times Sports yesterday that a delegation from Atsu’s last club, Hatayspor and the widow and three children will arrive today for the funeral.
Atsu died from a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked southeastern Turkey on February 6, killing over 44,000 individuals.
Atsu, 31, who played for Hatayspor in Turkey was trapped in the rubble with rescuers finding his lifeless body on February 18, ending any hope of Ghanaians to find him alive.
The tragedy happened a day after Atsu returned to the team and scored the winning goal for his team in a league game against Kasimpasa.
That incident plunged Ghana into a state of mourning with President Akufo-Addo tweeting “We have lost a great personality who contributed his best to the national cause. He was dedicated and must be given a dignifying exit.”
The body arrived at the Kotoka International Airport on February 19 and was received by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, family members and sympathisers.
According to sources from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the remains of the late player will move to the family home by 4:30am today and leave 30 minutes later to the funeral grounds where activities lined up commence.
That will kick-start pre-burial activities including wreath laying and tributes.
At exactly 8:30 am, the Chief of Staff, Madam Frema Osei-Pare will be expected to file past the
body, followed by Vice President Bawumia at 8:45am and President Akufo-Addo at 8:55am.
According to the source, the burial mass would be held from 9-11am and head to Dogobome in Ada for his burial.
Atsu had over 60 caps for the senior national team, the Black Stars and scored on his debut in 2012 as a 20-year-old. He was part of Ghana’s squad at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and featured at the 2015 African Cup of Nations, scoring two goals to help Ghana reach the final where they lost in a penalty shootout against Cote d’Ivoire.
He was however named the Player of the Tournament and won the Goal of the Tournament award.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE