Ghana international Christian Atsu Twasam, may still have been buried under the rubble in the earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday dawn.
This conflicts with earlier spine-tingling reports that suggested the Hatayspor of Turkey winger, has been found – 26 hours after the 7.8 magnitude quake that brought down thousands of buildings – and killing some 11,000 peoples, in several Turkish and Syrian cities.
The vice president of the club, Mustafa Ozat, had earlier told Radyo Gol that Atsu had been pulled out from the rubble – after hours of uncertainty, and whisked to hospital.
Ozat had insisted in an interview too with BeIN Sports on Tuesday that several players and officials, including the talented Ghanaian winger, had been rescued from the rubble.
This was followed by an information from the Ghana Ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, that she had been assured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that country that “Atsu has been found, rescued, and been sent to a medical centre because he was found with injuries.”
That thrilling piece of information brought huge relief to the nation and the family of the player as well.
But just as Ghanaians were thanking God for what many described as “huge miracle,” emerged another update from Hatayspor that “Christian Atsu is still unaccounted for.”
According to the club, the player could not be traced at any of the hospitals treating earthquake victims, adding that the one who was earlier alleged to have been retrieved, was actually not Atsu.
Club officials and agents yesterday also asserted that there is no video or photo evidence available to confirm Atsu’s rescue or admission to any medical facility, suggesting the Ghanaian philanthropist is still stuck underground.
Sources say the club’s officials were calling in all the hospitals, bellowing out his name and sending pictures around the hospitals “but was not there.”
Hatayspor team doctor, Gurbey Kahveci, has also confirmed that Atsu and the club’s sporting director Taner Savut, were yet to be found.
The latest information has seen many throwing up their hands in despair, while others remain delicately optimistic – but called for prayers to be intensified.
As of press time yesterday, close pal of Atsu and Ghana teammate – Mubarak Wakasu, could also not confirm his whereabouts, calling on the public to “respect the families privacy during this harrowing time, and refrain from spreading unsubstantiated news as this will only hamper the search efforts for Christian.”
The 31-year-old Atsu last weekend climbed off the bench in the 82nd minute to score a stunning free-kick in his club’s last game against Kasimpasa SK.
That only goal of the match saw the club sneak out of the relegation zone to the 14th spot on the log of the 19-club Spor Toto Süper Lig.
Atsu featured in the Premier League for Newcastle United and Everton and joined Hatayspor in September, last year.
He was last selected to play for Black Stars of Ghana in 2019.
BY JOHN VIGAH