Ghanaians mourn Christian Atsu Twasam as he is buried Today


By Rachel Kakraba

Final funeral rites are underway at the Forecourt of the State House, in Accra for former Black Stars player Christian Atsu Twasam.

The solemn ceremony was graced by high-profile dignitaries, including President Akufo-Addo.

Atsu was very instrumental in the Black Stars 2015 AFCON journey, which saw Ghana finish as runners-up after losing on penalty shootouts to Ivory Coast.

He brought joy to Ghanaians through his football exploits and other philanthropic works.

Early life

Christian Atsu Twasam was born in Ada Foah, in the Greater Accra Region, on January 10, 1992. He was one of ten siblings, including his twin sister. His early playing days were at the Feyenoord Football Academy in Gomoa Fetteh, in the Central Region, now known as the West Africa Football Academy. Atsu later moved to join Cheetah FC, a club based in Kasoa.

Involvement in the Black Stars

He made his debut with the National Team, the Black Stars, on June 1, 2012. In an earlier interview with Sports Highlights host Kwabena Yeboah, he says it is a call-up that mattered so much to him, especially as it is the dream of all players to represent their countries on the international stage. For him, first impressions mattered most, which is why he played his heart out when the opportunity finally opened for him.

“As a Ghanaian footballer, always our dream is to represent our country one day at the highest level, and when I had the chance, I said to myself, I’m going to take this chance, because in the Ghana National Team, no matter how good you are, your first game is very important, so you have to give it your all.”

Christian Atsu.

He made 65 appearances for the Black Stars. One of the most memorable goals he scored for the Black Stars was in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Egypt, where he struck from 25 yards to give Ghana a 6-1 lead over its opponents. Ghana subsequently secured qualification for its third World Cup in Brazil, where Atsu played in all three matches against Germany, the USA, and Portugal.

Atsu was convinced that the Senior National Team, the Black Stars, has been unlucky in lifting a trophy in many years, although it has what it takes.

“The unluckiest National team for me is the Ghana National team.  We have been unlucky in a lot of cases when we go to a tournament, especially in 2015; when I think about that, I go crazy because we scored two penalties, so how can we lose? We wish Ghanaians would know this kind of frustration in we the players.”

Club football 

Christian Atsu Twasam began his club level career with the Portuguese giants FC Porto, where he made 17 appearances. Atsu was loaned to another Portuguese side, Rio Ave, where he was adjudged Player of the Season (2011–12), having made 27 appearances and scoring six goals. He had numerous loan spells at Malaga, Bournemouth, and Everton, but it was at Newcastle where the player made a significant impact. He played an instrumental role in the team’s qualification back to the Premier League in 2017, having also won the English Football League Championship in the 2016–17 season. Atsu also played for Saudi Arabian side Al Raed FC before joining Hatayaspor in September last year. He scored his first goal for the team just hours before the devastating earthquake in Turkey that claimed his life on February 6.

Christian Atsu’s twin sister, elder brother were present when body was recovered - Ministry
Christian Atsu.

Reactions to death

When news broke about him being trapped under the rubble, many people prayed to God to keep him safe. News of his death and the subsequent arrival of his remains in the country threw the nation into a state of mourning.

From the international community, the presidency, his former teammates, supporters, the GFA, club owners, and the entire football fraternity in Ghana, tributes continue to pour in for him.

 “I was very shocked when I received the message this morning. Ghana is in shock, and we are praying that he will be in the bosom of God.

“I’m very hurt by the sudden demise of Christian Atsu, especially when I look at how benevolent he was.”

“Christian Atsu was a famous player; he used to score a lot of goals; he did everything.”

“Such a great guy who was our best player, it is my prayer that God strengthens the family at such a difficult time.”

“Very friendly, we used to play on and off the pitch. He was very respectful of the pitch with his mates, coaches, everyone. It’s very sad to lose somebody like that.”

“He was a good player, hardworking, and he had a good sense of humour and all. He didn’t only believe in his talent but he believed in also working hard. It’s a really big loss not only even playing but then the good things he does for people “

“Anybody who has had an encounter with Christian will tell you that, you don’t forget. He’s respectful and cared a lot about people.”

“Losing Atsu at this time of his age and his career as a footballer is a great loss to the nation.”

“I will describe Christian as an angel on earth, I think we need to remember Christian for his generosity, how humble he is, how determined he is and I think this should inspire footballers.”

“Atsu was such an amazing person, very open, very kind, he had a good heart. As a football industry and as a football family we have lost such an amazing footballer and an amazing personality.”

Born into a Christian family, Atsu was a devout Christian who shared Bible verses on social media.  He had an open arm and supported the less privileged and disadvantaged children. He paid for the release of many petty offenders who had been incarcerated. For Atsu explained his benevolence to prison inmates as, “People who go to prison are usually neglected by their families. I, therefore, decided to lend support to prisoners as a proof that there could be life after prison.”

This is a gesture CEO of Crime Check Foundation, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng and many who have been beneficiaries of his benevolence find it as a blow.

“Under our petty offender’s project, he’s released more than a hundred prisoners, reintegrated most of them into society.  He also championed the passage of the non-custodial sentencing bill into law. He thought that it didn’t make sense for petty offenders to be jailed, rather they could contribute to society in various ways.”

At the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, he was named the tournament’s best player after scoring one of the most stunning goals in Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) history in Ghana’s quarterfinal game against Guinea, which was adjudged the Goal of the Tournament. He is survived by a wife and three children. May the gentle soul of Christian Atsu Twasam continue to rest in Perfect Peace, until the resurrection.

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