The corpse of Ghana winger Christian Atsu was returned to Accra on Sunday evening (Monday, February 20, Manila time), a day after he was discovered dead beneath a collapsed building in southern Turkey.
Atsu has been missing since the earthquake on February 6 that caused the collapse of a Hatay apartment building. He was 31.
Atsu’s casket, draped in the national flag of Ghana, was met at the Kotoko International Airport in the capital by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia and a massive military honor guard.
“Every day that went, we hoped against hope and prayed ceaselessly. But regrettably, when he was discovered, he was no longer alive,” Bawumia told a gathering of mourning on the tarmac.
Atsu was supposed to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the earthquake, but Hatayspor’s management said that the Ghanaian elected to remain with the club after scoring the game-winning goal in the Super Lig match on February 5.
After playing for English Premier League teams Everton, Chelsea, and Newcastle United, he joined Hatayspor in September of last year.
He also earned 65 caps for Ghana and helped them reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final, which they lost on penalties against Ivory Coast. 2019 became his last selection to play for Ghana.
The Ghana Football Association expressed its sincere sympathies to the deceased’s wife and children, family, loved ones, and football community.
His spirit may rest in peace.
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