“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come” Isaiah 57:1.
The demise of Christian Atsu has left scars of pain and anguish for all Ghanaians, and for many, it is mind-boggling how someone with such humility and care for humanity would pass away in this manner.
The 31-year-old Ghana international passed on after his body was found under rubble, 12 days after the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey on February 6, 2023, and claimed more than 40, 000 lives.
But, while the bible verse Isaiah 57:1 may provide some solace to those in mourning, one thing is certain: Atsu’s legacy would live on in the annals of Ghanaian football.
Atsu’s exploits for Ghana
The dribbling gem made 65 appearances for the Black Stars of Ghana, scoring nine goals.
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 their counterparts.
Ghana subsequently secured qualification to its third World Cup in Brazil, where Atsu played in all three matches against Germany, the USA, and Portugal, having exited the group stages with just a point.
Atsu’s most successful outing for the Black Stars came at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, where he nearly inspired Ghana to its fifth continental trophy.
Despite the fact that the Black Stars lost on penalties to Cote d’Ivoire in the finals, he was named the tournament’s best player.
Atsu scored one of the most stunning goals in Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) history in Ghana’s quarterfinal game against Guinea, which won the Goal of the Tournament.
He also featured at the 2017 and 2019 editions of the AFCON.
Atsu’s exploits at club level
Atsu happens to be one of the few Ghanaian players to have played for multiple top European clubs.
He began his 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 made a $3.5 million move to Chelsea in 2013, but was subsequently loaned to Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem.
Atsu 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 for the Magpies.
The winger also played for Saudi Arabian side Al Raed FC, with Hatayspor being the last team he played for before his tragic demise.
Married to a German Marie-Claire Rupio, Christian Atsu had two sons and a daughter.
He was born in Ada Foah, in the Greater Accra Region, into a Christian family. He spent his early playing days at the Gomoa Fetteh Feyenoord Academy, now known as the West Africa Football Academy.
Atsu’s philanthropic works made him one of the most loved footballers in the country, having made several donations to charity.
In 2018, the football star facilitated the release of 10 prisoners after they settled court fines at the Cape Coast Prison Annex.
He has bailed out several prison inmates across the country, making sure they get back on track in life with start-up capital.
Atsu has made several donations to clubs and paid the school fees for many individuals.
By Simon Asare
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