The family of former Premier League star Christian Atsu have mourned the footballer’s death alongside his fellow Ghana international teammates after he was tragically killed in the Turkish earthquake.
His bereaved family accepted condolences from guests and Atsu’s former teammates at their home in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, yesterday.
Footballers such as former Ghana international players Abedi Pele, Sule Muntari and Asamoah Gyan were pictured arriving at the property to pay their respects and comfort his family.
Former Newcastle midfielder Atsu’s death was announced on Saturday by his agent Nana Sechere, who said the player’s body was found 12 days after the disaster hit Turkey and Syria – claiming more than 44,000 lives.
Ghana international Atsu, who was 31 and counted Chelsea, Everton and Porto among his former clubs, was playing for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor at the time of his death.
Former Ghana national team football player Asamoah Gyan (pictured) visited Atsu’s home and offered his condolences to his family
Former Newcastle midfielder Atsu’s death was announced on Saturday by his agent Nana Sechere (Atsu is pictured playing for Newcastle against Fulham in 2018)
Yesterday crowds gathered at the family home, where pictures of Atsu – a beloved father, husband and son – were displayed next to flowers and a book of condolences for guests to sign.
Family members embraced each other throughout the high emotion of the day as they remembered Atsu.
At the weekend his body was repatriated to Ghana, where family members waited at the airport for the arrival of his coffin.
Atsu had been an ambassador for global children’s charity Arms Around The Child (AATC) since 2016, was the main benefactor of a new school that is nearing completion in Senya Beraku in Ghana.
He visited children and the project there on several occasions.
A spokesperson for AATC said: ‘It is with immense pain and disbelief that we have to write these words. We have held onto the hope that Christian would survive and be found in the rubble of the tragic earthquake to hit 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 in our memories as one of the kindest, most talented, humble people to enter this world.
Sule Muntari paid his respects to his friend and teammate as a table was set up with a picture of Atsu
Christian Atsu’s fellow Ghana international teammates visited his home in Accra (pictured second left is Asamoah Gyan)
Atsu’s body was repatriated to Ghana at the weekend, where guests have now arrived to pay their respects at his family home. Pictured: Former teammate Abedi Pele
Ghana international Atsu, 31, counted Chelsea, Everton and Porto among his former clubs. Pictured are his family and friends gathered yesterday
Pictures of Atsu – a beloved father, husband and son – were displayed next to flowers and a book of condolences for guests to sign
‘A young boy from poverty in Ghana who followed his dreams had an incredibly successful footballing career and used his talent and platform to help others.
‘Arms Around The Child were fortunate to have known Christian and will treasure his support for the children we look after, especially the children in Senya Beraku where Christian was building a school in the local community. Christian believed in giving children a brighter future and the opportunity to succeed.
‘He never forgot his own roots and didn’t 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 their work paying fines for petty crimes which had resulted in incarceration, and helping people reintegrate into society and get back on their feet.
‘Whenever Christian visited Senya, the children and the community were always so happy to see him. They would welcome him like a hero, but also like a father, uncle or brother as everyone felt such a 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 the children and would always throw his shoes off to play barefoot football with them, something he loved to do whenever he visited.
Christian Atsu’s family members wait at the airport for the arrival of his coffin
Pallbearers carried Atsu’s coffin as it was escorted off the plane and on to his final resting place
‘The children looked up to him, he showed them that they can have dreams for a better future and that through education, dreams can be achieved.
‘This is why Christian was so passionate about building a school, he believed in education for all, especially as a way to solve problems and give kids a brighter future.’
Seth Asiedu, director of one of the homes Atsu supported in Senya Beraku, said: ‘Our hearts are broken by the news regarding our beloved bro, Christian Atsu.
‘We always felt the impact of his presence and were soaked with joy any time he visited us.
‘The happiness he brought to so many will leave a painful void, but we will always remember his kind heart and his beaming, infectious and joyful smile. Thank you Christian, we love you.’
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