The family of former Premier League star Christian Atsu have mourned the footballer along with his Ghanaian international teammates after he was tragically killed in the earthquake in Turkey.
His grieving family accepted condolences yesterday from Atsu’s guests and former teammates at his home in Accra, the Ghanaian capital.
Footballers including former Ghana international players Abedi Pele, Sule Muntari and Asamoah Gyan were photographed arriving at the property to pay their respects and comfort his family.
The death of former Newcastle midfielder Atsu was announced on Saturday by his agent Nana Sechere, who said the player’s body was found 12 days after the disaster that struck Turkey and Syria, claiming more than 44,000 lives.
Ghanaian international Atsu, who was 31 years old and counted Chelsea, Everton and Porto among his former clubs, was playing for Hatayspor of the Turkish Super Lig at the time of his death.
Former Ghana national team soccer player Asamoah Gyan (pictured) visited Atsu’s home and offered his condolences to his family.
The death of former Newcastle midfielder Atsu was announced on Saturday by his agent Nana Sechere (pictured playing for Newcastle against Fulham in 2018)
Crowds gathered at the family home yesterday, where photos of Atsu, a loving father, husband and son, were displayed alongside flowers and a condolence book for guests to sign.
The family members hugged each other during the great emotion of the day as they remembered Atsu.
His body was repatriated to Ghana over the weekend, where relatives waited at the airport for his coffin to arrive.
Atsu had been an ambassador for the global children’s charity Arms Around The Child (AATC) since 2016, he was the main benefactor of a new school nearing completion at Senya Beraku in Ghana.
He visited the children and the project there on several occasions.
An AATC spokesperson said: ‘It is with immense pain and disbelief that we have to write these words. We have clung to the hope that Christian will survive and find himself in the rubble of the tragic earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.
‘Christian Atsu was a truly unique and wonderful man, and his legacy will live on through the many hundreds, if not thousands, of lives he has helped.
He will live on in our memory as one of the kindest, most talented and humble people to ever come into this world.
Sule Muntari paid his respects to his friend and teammate as a table was set up with a photo of Atsu on it.
Christian Atsu’s Ghana international teammates visited his home in Accra (pictured second left is Asamoah Gyan)
Atsu’s body was repatriated to Ghana over the weekend, where guests have now arrived to pay their respects at his family home. Pictured: Former teammate Abedi Pele
Ghanaian international Atsu, 31, counted Chelsea, Everton and Porto among his former clubs. In the photo, his family and his friends gathered yesterday.
Photos of Atsu, a loving father, husband and son, were displayed along with flowers and a condolence book for guests to sign.
‘A young man from poverty in Ghana who followed his dreams had an incredibly successful football career and used his talent and platform to help others.
‘Arms Around The Child was lucky to have met Christian and will treasure his support of the children we care for, especially the children in Senya Beraku, where Christian was building a school in the local community. Christian believed in giving children a better future and a chance to succeed.
“He never forgot his own roots and did not want to see any more children abused, imprisoned, affected by HIV, trafficked or sold.
“He was determined to use his prominence as a footballer to prevent this.
“He had also been supporting The Crime Check Foundation in Ghana with his work paying fines for minor offenses that resulted in imprisonment and helping people reintegrate into society and recover.
‘Whenever Christian visited Senya, the children and the community were always very happy to see him. They would greet him as a hero, but also as a father, uncle or brother, since they all felt such close affection for him.
‘He greeted everyone with smiles and hugs, making each individual, child and adult, feel important and that they could dream and succeed in life. Christian loved children and always took off his shoes to play barefoot soccer with them, something he loved to do whenever he visited.
Relatives of Christian Atsu wait at the airport for the arrival of his coffin
The pallbearers carried Atsu’s coffin as they escorted him off the plane and into his final resting place.
‘The children admired him, he showed them that they can have dreams for a better future and that through education, dreams can be achieved.
“That’s why Christian was so passionate about building a school, he believed in education for all, especially as a way to solve problems and give children a better future.”
Seth Asiedu, director of one of the homes that Atsu supported in Senya Beraku, said: “Our hearts are broken by the news about our beloved brother, Christian Atsu.
‘We always felt the impact of his presence and were drenched in joy every time he visited us.
“The happiness that he brought to so many will leave a painful void, but we will always remember his kind heart and his radiant, contagious and joyful smile. Thank you Christian, we love you.’