When a Ghanaian international soccer legend loses his life in a tragic earthquake disaster in Turkey

My good friend and colleague of the inky fraternity (Journal­ist), Edem Mensah-Tsotorme, has rightly and aptly posted on his Facebook page a short tribute and it reads; “This life? He went to Turkey to make a living to feed home and the downtrodden only to meet his untimely death…”.

Yes, the body of our very young vibrant, skillful and hardworking Ghanaian footballer of international fame, Christian Atsu, has finally been recovered from the rubble of the collapsed buildings of the earthquake disaster in Turkey and has been de­clared dead by the search parties.


His death was confirmed in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integra­tion in Ghana on Saturday, February 18, 2023, and according to the Min­istry, our Embassy in Turkey with the assistance from the Turkish Govern­ment was making arrangements for his body to be flown home for burial.

The recovery of the body on Sat­urday morning, comes 12 days after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria claiming more than 40,000 lives. Atsu’s relatives- elder brother, twin sister and an official from the Ghana Embassy, were present at the site when the body was recovered.

Indeed, the death of this young Hatayspor FC player which has rocked the entire world, especially his home country Ghana, is difficult to com­prehend and imagine considering the circumstances of passing.


A few days after the earthquake, the 31-year-old Ghanaian footballer, was reported missing. Indeed, there were conflicting reports on social media as well as people who were somehow close to the player that, he had been recovered from the rubble and had been taken to an unknown hospital in Turkey, with some form of injuries, especially respiratory prob­lem and that he was recovering.

That gave Ghanaians including the government and other top officials a little amount of hope, expecting his total recovery so that he could continue to ply his football trade and career.

Many were those who called for total prayers for the young philan­thropist who had been supporting the downtrodden, especially, Ghanaian prisoners aside his professional foot­ball career.


In the midst of the conflicting statements and uncertainties about his whereabout, there was a report from his football club in Turkey that he had not been found contrary to the earlier reports that his body had been recovered and taken to an un­known hospital.

Saturday’s recovery of the body, had therefore, seen a lot of loved ones, including most of his football mates in Ghana and across the world, as well as the former foreign clubs he once featured for, paying him tributes after hearing the sad news.

His friend and former Black Stars teammate, Mubarak Wakaso, was re­ported to have tweeted of his heart­break after hearing the news. Other senior and veteran sports writers and commentators such as Yaw Ampofo Ankrah, Carl Tuffour, Rosalind Amoh, Kwabena Yeboah and others, have eulogised and given good account and various impressive testimonies about that great footballer.

Atsu’s former club Chelsea FC, tweeted as follows, “Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of our former player, Christian Atsu. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

Indeed, as a great footballer on the international scenes and a hero as he was, tributes have started pour­ing in from across the world about his demise and circumstances that led to it. Many have lost their lives but the death of Atsu has overshadowed everything.

I am compelled to use my favou­rite column to wish all families that have lost their loved ones and bread­winners in this tragic earthquake disaster, my heartfelt condolences. May the good Lord continue to bless the souls of their departed loved ones and grant them eternal rest.

May the Almighty God also console the bereaved families making them to understand that, everything happens for a reason and, therefore, they should continue to give thanks and glory to the Almighty God.


Born at Ada Foah in the Greater Accra Region on 10th January 1990, Christian Atsu Twasam who happened to be a twin to Christiana Atsupie, at­tended the Feyenoord Football Acad­emy at Gomoa Fetteh, now the West African Football Academy (WAFA) at Sogakope in the Volta Region.

We are told that despite his struggles of club football, Atsu was able to play a top-flight league in Europe for the majority of his career. After being scouted by Porto during his time at the defunct Feyenoord, the Portuguese club recruited Atsu in 2009 into their youth team at the age of 17, and it did not take long for him to be invited to the senior team.

It was difficult to allow him to go because of his incredible football skills. He eventually did and spent a season on loan with Rio Ave, where he made an immediate impact, which eventually earned him a place in Por­to senior team upon his return.


The arguably biggest move of Atsu’s career was in sight and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, demanded his services at the end of the 2012/2013 season when he rejoined the then UEFA Euro­pa League champi­ons.

It was interesting to know that Atsu never kicked a ball for the London-based club for four years in a row. He was offered a series of loans before landing regular playing time with another English club, Newcastle United.

With the exclu­sion of the Magpies, Atsu played on loan for four different teams while he was contracted to Chel­sea. Vitesse, Ever­ton, Bournemouth and Malaga, were all beneficiaries of Atsu’s services when he struggled to make the mark at Chelsea.


When he joined Newcastle in 2017, having already played a season on loan, he played 121 times and con­tributed to 10 goals. When he finally left Newcastle in 2021, he joined Saudi Arabian side, al Raed FC, but he had to battle with injuries and as a result, only made eight appearances in the Saudi Professional League.

In an attempt to relaunch his career, he joined Hatayspor FC where he scored his first goal on his fourth appearance which snatched a win for his club, moments prior to getting trapped under the rubble for days, which claimed his life.

During his days with the Ghana Black Stars, Atsu was awarded the best goal for his strike against Guinea in the quarter-finals of the 2015 AF­CON. He was named the best player of the competition. He represented Ghana in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and two Africa Cup of Nations tourna­ments.


Atsu was a devout Christian and no wonder he had Christian as his first name and until his death he had been sharing Bible verses on social media. He was married to a German author, Marie-Claire Rupio with whom he had two sons and a daughter to mourn him.

Atsu was well- known for his phil­anthropic and humanitarian services in Ghana. He had a project of help­ing to free convicts who owed fines by paying their penalties and giving them money to start small-scale businesses on their own. Besides, he had helped many in the society both materially and financially.


Meanwhile, the government should be commended for the prompt and immediate steps taken to ensure that his mortal remains were brought home as quickly as possible on Sunday, February 19, 2023 for a befitting funeral and burial.

All that Ghanaians are expecting now, is for gov­ernment to liaise with the family as assured by the Vice President when he received his body at the Kotoka International Air­port, to give him a state burial befitting his status. He was a national asset who had paid his dues to his dear country and, therefore, deserves to be accorded as such.


This article cannot end well with­out cautioning Ghanaian bloggers on social media and other media outlets who continue to post all kinds of false and unconscionable information on their Facebook walls to deceive inno­cent people for no apparent reasons.

The way and manner some of those bloggers handled the issue regarding the Turkey and Syria earth­quake, especially the involvement of Atsu, was so bad, knowing very well that his family, especially, the wife and children would be gravely dis­turbed by their posts.

For instance, the photograph showing how he had been trapped dead under the rubble in his apart­ment was unnecessary and uncalled for, especially at this time when the family, especially the wife and chil­dren are so traumatised. We need to be extra careful about the way and manner we report on this particular issue. Very sad indeed! Atsu you died a martyr and you will forever be remembered by the whole world.

Contact email/WhatsApp of au­thor:

ataani2000@yahoo.com 0277753946/0248933366

By Charles Neequaye

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