• Players and officials of Christian Atsu’s former club, Peace FC, made an appearance at last Saturday’s one-week celebration. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
• Players and officials of Christian Atsu’s former club, Peace FC, made an appearance at last Saturday’s one-week celebration. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

Atsu’s funeral fixed for March 17

The final funeral rites of former Black Stars player, Christian Atsu, will be held at the forecourt of the State House in Accra on Friday, March 17, 2023, in a ceremony expected to be graced by many high-profile dignitaries led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The Twasam family, to which Atsu belonged, made the announcement during the one-week observance held at the Adjiriganor Astro Turf Park in Accra last Saturday.

It was a highly emotive scene at the well-attended ceremony as football icons, high-profile personalities from the entertainment industry, some top politicians and people from all walks of life joined the Twasam family to observe the one-week observance of the late football star who died in the earthquake that hit parts of Türkiye last month.


The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, joined the Twasam family and other notable personalities seated on the main dais, alongside the CEO of the National Sports Authority, Prof.

Peter Twumasi; Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kurt Okraku, and his predecessor, Kwesi Nyantakyi.

Former Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng, also led a delegation to mourn with the bereaved family.

From active and retired stars, the football community was heavily represented at the funeral as they came under the umbrella of the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG) led by the celebrated Samuel Osei Kuffour, with the group also featuring three former national team captains — Stephen Appiah, John Mensah and Asamoah Gyan.

Other prominent faces included Anthony Baffoe, Nii Afo Dodoo, Emmanuel (Senegal) Armah, John Paintsil, Sulley Muntari, Baffour Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Daniel (Darling Boy) Addo, Prince Tagoe, Richard Kingson, Haminu Dramani, Godwin Attram, Yusif Chibsah, Arthur Moses, Derek Boateng and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu.

Ahead of yesterday’s Premier League and President’s Cup match with rivals Hearts of Oak, the CEO of Asante Kotoko, Nana Yaw Amponsah, led players and technical handlers of the team to greet the family amid loud cheers from some of the sympathisers and onlookers.

Overflowing crowd

Despite the solemn nature of the event, the presence of football icons and celebrities got some of the mourners cheering, with security personnel having a tough time maintaining orderliness as the celebrities made their way through the crowd to the funeral grounds.

Visibly overcome by emotions, Muntari — who played alongside Atsu at the 2014 FIFA World Cup — could not hold back his tears, with Black Stars goalkeepers’ trainer, Kingson, offering a consoling shoulder.

Others tried to keep their composure as they came to terms with the tragic death of a gifted and affable player whose virtues were extolled by people whose lives he touched on and off the football field.

Other celebrities from the entertainment community at the ceremony included Ghanaian actresses Christabel Ekeh and Lydia Forson, and musicians Kwesi Arthur, Grace Ashley and Nigerian songwriter and dancehall singer, Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, better known by his stage name Patoranking.

Last Saturday marked exactly two weeks when the body of 31-year-old Atsu was retrieved from the rubble in his Türkiye base after a frantic 12-day search, having joined Turkish Süper Lig side Hatayspor last September.


Cardboard cutouts of the player in the jersey of Everton and Newcastle United — two of the English clubs Atsu played for — were placed in the middle of the pitch with the inscription “Your Legacy Lives On” boldly overlooking the main dais and posted on a huge billboard at the entrance to the park.

Players of Peace FC and Cheetah FC, clubs Atsu featured for during his formative years in Ghana, as well as representatives of some of the charitable organisations supported by the late footballer, were also present.

An area where Atsu’s charitable undertaking made a great impact was his support for the Crime Check Foundation, an NGO in Ghana in crime-prevention advocacy and the integration of ex-convicts.

He worked with the organisation by paying fines to secure the release from prison of 163 people incarcerated for petty crimes and helping with capital to support the reintegration of 16 of them into society.

At last Saturday’s ceremony, an ex-convict and one of the beneficiaries of Atsu’s philanthropy, Steven Appiah, looked broken-hearted as he spoke about the late footballer’s good works, including how the deceased paid a fine to secure his release from jail in 2017 for a petty crime.

Sobbing while paying tribute, Appiah said it was hard to believe his benefactor had perished and demanded to be given a commemorative T-shirt which he wore before retiring to his seat.

During his senior career, Atsu featured for clubs in Portugal, Holland, England, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Türkiye.

He scored nine goals in 65 appearances for Ghana between 2012 and 2019.

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