The body of Christian Atsu, who died in an earthquake in Turkey two weeks ago, has been returned to his country, Ghana. The plane landed late Sunday in Accra, and his coffin was carried away by members of Ghana’s armed forces.
On Saturday, Atsu was discovered dead beneath his home in southern Turkey. He had been playing for Turkish club, Hatayspor.
Christian Atsu appeared 65 times for Ghana and helped his country reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final. The 31-year-old also played for Everton and Newcastle in the Premier League.
Ghana’s Vice-President Mahamudu Bawmia said at Kotoka airport in the capital Accra, “We hoped against hope, every day that passed, we prayed and prayed. But alas, when he was found, he was no more.”
Mr. Bawmia went on to say that Christian Atsu was well-liked and would be greatly missed. He promised that Atsu would be buried in a befitting manner.
Atsu had gone missing after his apartment in Antakya, Hatay Province, was destroyed by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6. The Hatayspor club initially stated that the player had been rescued with injuries, but this was later changed, and his agent confirmed his death on Twitter on Saturday. Over 44,000 people have been confirmed dead in south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria.
Ghana’s foreign ministry said the remains of Christian Atsu were accompanied from Turkey by his family and Ghana’s ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashietey-Odunton.
The plane touched down in Accra at 19:25 GMT, where it was greeted by relatives, government officials, and Ghana Football Association representatives. The coffin was to be transported to a military hospital mortuary later.
On Saturday, his wife Marie-Claire Rupio and their three children joined fans in Newcastle for a minute of silence before the team’s Premier League match against Liverpool. Christian Atsu played for Newcastle from 2016 to 2021.
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