On Friday, March 17, 2023, the final funeral ceremonies for former Black Stars player Christian Atsu will be held at the State House in Accra.
Subscribe to our newsletter!
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is set to preside over the ceremony.
The statement was made by the Twasam family, to which Atsu belonged, last Saturday during the one-week celebration hosted at Accra’s Adjiriganor Astro Turf Park.
Football legends, prominent figures from the entertainment industry, leading politicians, and people from all walks of life joined the Twasam family to observe the one-week memorial for the late football player who passed away in the earthquake that struck parts of Türkiye last month. It was an extremely emotional scene at the well-attended ceremony.
The Twasam family and other significant people were sat on the main dais, along with the CEO of the National Sports Authority, Prof. Mustapha Ussif, who is also the Minister of Youth and Sports.
Kurt Okraku, president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Peter Twumasi, and Kwesi Nyantakyi, his predecessor.
Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng, a former minister of trade and industry, also led a team to the funeral to support the grieving family.
The Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG), which is led by the renowned Samuel Osei Kuffour and includes three former national team captains in Stephen Appiah, John Mensah, and Asamoah Gyan, was prominently represented at the funeral by active and retired football luminaries.
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.
Asante Kotoko’s CEO, Nana Yaw Amponsah, led the team’s players and technical staff in greeting the family before yesterday’s Premier League and President’s Cup match against rival Hearts of Oak, drawing loud applause from some of the supporters and spectators.
The presence of football legends and celebrities caused some mourners to applaud despite the sombre nature of the occasion, and security personnel struggled to maintain order as the celebrities made their way through the crowd to the funeral grounds.
Muntari, who competed with Atsu at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, was visibly struck with emotion and was unable to control his sobs. Black Stars goalkeepers’ trainer Kingson offered a comforting shoulder.
Others attempted to remain calm as they dealt with the devastating loss of a talented and likeable player, whose qualities were lauded by many whose lives he touched both on and off the football field.
The Ghanaian actresses Christabel Ekeh and Lydia Forson, the artists Kwesi Arthur and Grace Ashley, and the Nigerian composer and dancehall singer Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, better known by his stage name Patoranking, were all notable attendees at the ceremony.
After a frenzied 12-day search, the body of 31-year-old Atsu, who had joined Turkish Süper Lig club Hatayspor last September, was found in his Türkiye camp precisely two weeks ago on Saturday.
The words “Your Legacy Lives On” were prominently written over the main dais and displayed on a giant billboard at the park’s entrance, along with cardboard cutouts of the players wearing the jerseys of Everton and Newcastle United, two of the English teams that Atsu played for.
Atsu played for Peace FC and Cheetah FC during his formative years in Ghana, and members of several of the philanthropic organizations the late footballer sponsored were also there.
Atsu’s assistance for the Crime Check Foundation, a non-profit organization in Ghana that advocates for crime prevention and the integration of ex-offenders, was one area where his humanitarian work had a significant positive influence.
He collaborated with the organization by paying fines to obtain the release from prison of 163 persons who were detained for minor offenses and by contributing money to help 16 of them reintegrate into society.
One of the recipients of Atsu’s generosity, ex-convict Steven Appiah, was distraught as he spoke about the late footballer’s good deeds during the ceremony on last Saturday. Appiah mentioned how the dead paid a fine to facilitate his release from jail in 2017 for a minor offense.
Appiah broke down in tears as he paid tribute, saying it was difficult to accept that his supporter had passed away. He also insisted that he be given a commemorative T-shirt, which he wore before settling into his seat.
Atsu played for clubs in Portugal, Holland, England, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey throughout his senior career.
Between 2012 and 2019, he made 65 appearances for Ghana and scored nine goals.