Hundreds of mourners including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gathered at the Forecourt of the Banquet Hall in Accra, Ghana on Thursday, March 17, 2023 to pay their last respects to Christian Atsu, a former Ghana International who died in last month's earthquake in Turkey.
Also present was Vice President of the Republic Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana's 4th President of the 4th Republic John Dramani Mahama, Chief of Staff Hon. Akosua Frema Opare, Youth and Sports Minister Mustapha Ussif (Hon.), Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Evan Bobie (Hon.) and President of the Ghana Football Association Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku.
Others included, Ministers of State, Members of the Diplomatic Corps in Ghana, former Ghanaian International footballers, legends of the sport, Members of the clergy, Traditional leaders and invited guests.
Some other notable faces at the funeral included Black Stars Head Coach Chris Hughton, Assistant Coach George Boateng, three-time African best Footballer and former Ghana captain Abedi Ayew Pele and wife Maha Ayew, former captain Stephen Appiah, Samuel Osei Kuffuor, Sulley Ali Muntari, Richard Kingson, John Mensah, Derek Boateng, John Painstil, Yaw Preko, Augustine Arhinful, Yaw Acheampong and Emmanuel Adebayor.
"In life I love you darling, in death I'll do the same," read the tearful tribute from the footballer's widow, Marie-Claire Rupio. She was filled with emotion and handed her speech to Atsu's sister to finish reading.
''You did not go alone, for part of me went with you, it continued. Your smile, your love I see in our children's smiles."
Representatives of Atsu's Turkish club Hatayspor were also at the ceremony for a man seen by many as a national hero.
"Even at the peak of his career, Astu remained himself and was never overtaken by pride, arrogance or indiscipline," Sport Minister Mustapha Ussif told mourners. "His legacy will remain as an inspiration."
Atsu's body was recovered on Saturday, February 25, 2023 after the quake from the rubble of his apartment building. The body was returned to Ghana almost a month ago. He was later taken to his home village in Ada Foa for burial.
Christian Atsu, 31, spent most of his career playing in the English Premier League for clubs including Chelsea, Newcastle United, AFC Bournemouth and Everton FC.
He also made 65 appearances for Ghana, and helped the national side reach the finals of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea - where he was awarded goal and player of the tournament.
Hundreds of mourners and well-wishers filed past Atsu's body Friday morning to say their farewells. Drumming and brass bands was part of the colourful cultural display at an otherwise solemn event.
Christian Atsu Twasam left behind a wife and three children. May his soul Rest In Peace!