Story: News Desk
The State has paid a glowing tribute to the late Ghanaian international Christian Atsu who died in the Turkey-Syria earthquake last month.
Mustapha Ussif, the Sports Minister, reading the tribute on behalf of the State, at the final funeral rites of the footballer, said the deceased’s “acclaimed humane nature, friendliness, love for, people, commitment to mother Ghana and team spirit were exceptional and deserve emulation.”
“Even at the peak of his career, Atsu remained himself and was never overtaken by pride, arrogance and indiscipline.”
Mr Ussif said on the occasion of the country mourning one of its sons, brother and colleague, “we believe that Christian Atsu graciously paid his dues to Mother Ghana and memories of his commitment and contributions to the National team, the Black Stars, will forever remain in the minds of both present and future generations.”
“His legacy will remain as an inspiration for the Black Stars, the football fraternity and generally, the youth of our country, Ghana. We pray that our brother, our son and our Black Star, finds the best place with the Lord.”
The ex-Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle winger Christian Atsu was found dead under the rubble of where he lived in Turkey after the earthquake on February 6.
Recounting the unfortunate incident that led to the departed’s death, the Minister said, “as human beings, creatures of the Almighty God, departing from each other in response to the Creator’s call, is natural, but the departure of a patriot, full of wisdom, humility and kindness is really painful.
“But as we always say, when such painful departures occur, we cannot question God. He knows best. The painful loss of our brother Christian Atsu, has undoubtedly created indelible imprints on the minds and hearts of compatriots, teammates, friends, families and the nation.
“Government and Ghanaians in general will continue to remember Christian Atsu as one of the committed, dedicated and result-oriented youth and football stars of our time.
Mr Ussif said Christian Atsu demonstrated the capacity to fully achieve his potential in his profession.
“His interest for developing and utilising his talent for the Ghanaian people and beyond will forever remain a reference point.
“Throughout his career, Atsu interacted with many well-meaning Ghanaians and international partners at both personal and professional levels. His first close interaction with the Ministry of Sports, was his first call-up to the Black Stars in 2012.
“His stellar performance with the Black Stars, right from his debut match against Lesotho on 1st June 2012 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, endeared him to many Ghanaians. A new Black Star was born that day, no doubt.
“As one of the youngest players of the team, with much expectation from Ghanaians, he exhibited beyond the talents and skills known to many, when he scored the fifth goal in the Black Stars’ seven-goal thrashing of Lesotho. Indeed, the BBC described him as an “excellent prospect”, “quick and technically impressive” player with high potential in the National team,” he said.
The Minister narrated how “Atsu continued to serve Ghana through the Black Stars in many assignments, including, the African Cup of Nations in South Africa in 2013, Equatorial Guinea in 2015, Gabon in 2017 and Egypt in 2019. He also represented Ghana at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.”
Mr Ussif recounted the late footballer’s “most memorable performance with the Black Stars was at the 2015 Afcon in Equatorial Ghana, where he won the Player of the Tournament after his excellent performance helped the Black Stars to reach the grand finale.”
He said in all the Ministry’s interactions with the Black Stars, Atsu always displayed calmness, an attribute his mates have attested to.