Christian Atsu, the ‘unseen’ angel

Christian Atsu, the ‘unseen’ angel

• Atsu (centre) was a regular visitor to the charity’s home at Senya

Beraku in Ghana

The sages say that it is only when the toad dies, that its real length is seen.

This expression conveys much more than the sad demise of an amphibian. It is about the ‘unseen’ life of person when he was alive – and the communications surrounding him in death.

Palpably, this relates to Ghana’s fallen hero – Chris­tian Atsu Twasam – the nation’s attacking midfielder, who lost his life in the hor­rendous Turkey earthquake that has claimed thousands of lives.

Atsu, who plies his trade in Turkey for Hatayspor, a Turkish Super Lig club based in the south-eastern city, was found trapped under rub­ble exactly a week ago, 12 clear days after the ill-fated incident.

Since the confirmation of his tragic demise, hundreds of tributes have poured in eu­logising not only his delicate­ly silky skills on the field of play, but his real big-hearted, philanthropic nature.

Albeit he was not that kind of player who was signed for plenty of millions of dol­lars – or pocketed that stag­gering weekly allowances, the God-fearing Atsu freely gave to the needy and was always ready to do more. He could simply not stop giving!

One thing that remained unceasing among all the other life-altering events was his faith. Atsu was a devout Christian who shared Bible verses on social media.

Apart from football, he was also an ambassador for ‘Arms Around the Child’ since 2016. It is a charity organi­sation based in Ghana, South Africa and India that supports disadvantaged children. He also used to pay a lot of bail money to free Ghanaians who had been jailed for stealing food.

The Director of Senya Beraku, Seth Asiedu, had written a message on behalf of all the children for Atsu and his family.

“We called him our father, our friend, brother, uncle, sponsor and hero. You have left a great footprint through your generous act that no one can erase.”

Without any scintilla of doubt, Atsu was an archetyp­al human being who acted in both word and deed. He was a man who believed in building a better world and helping those less fortunate. The happiness he brought to so many will leave a painful void, but he would never be forgotten.

On Monday night, the mortal remains of the preco­ciously talented midfielder arrived at the Accra Interna­tional Airport amidst incon­solable tears. Emotive scenes of wailing, tears, pain, agony and distress encapsulated the arrival of the player’s motion­less body.

It was sad to see football fans who made their way to the airport to welcome their hero home, weeping openly as they saw the motor hearse that conveyed the player’s motionless body away – emo­tionally and frantically wav­ing to bid him adieu.

The relatives of Atsu, sib­lings and close friends were also inconsolable on seeing his casket.

An ‘unseen’ angel had lived amongst us, and left us in a harrowing manner.

On Sunday, February 5, this month, a few hours be­fore the earthquake struck, Atsu – nicknamed ‘African Messi’ for his flair, dexterity and skill, cracked home a majestic game-winning goal against Kasimpaşa.

That chocolate-box free-kick lifted his Turkish club from the lower rungs of the league log. Perhaps, it was the way nature had planned for the former Chelsea, FC Porto, Newcastle United, Everton and Bournemouth player, to bid the game fare­well.

Those who may not have seen his philanthropic self, would not forget about that awe-inspiring goal he scored against Guinea in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. That he was voted Best Player of that tournament, speaks volume to the former Black Stars player’s own legendary – having made 65 appearances for Ghana, banging home 10 goals.

As the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo asserted: “Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors; one that will be difficult to replace. He’ll be sorely missed.”

True, we shall miss Atsu. Rest in peace, ‘unseen’ angel.

By John Vigah

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