Hundreds pay their last respects to late Ghana star Atsu
ACCRA — Hundreds of people gathered in Ghana yesterday to pay their respects to former Premier League footballer Christian Atsu who was killed in the devastating earthquake in Turkey last month.
Gathering outside the State House in Ghana’s capital Accra, family, friends, government representatives, the nation’s president, and former teammates all joined to remember Atsu.
The Ghanaian’s body was found 12 days after the disaster hit Turkey and Syria, which claimed more than 50,000 lives.
His body was repatriated to Ghana last month in preparation for the funeral in his home country today. Atsu, who was 31, had played for Newcastle, Everton, and Porto. He was playing for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor at the time of his death.
Military pallbearers flanked each side of the footballer’s coffin as it was carried down the aisle outside Ghana’s State House. It was draped in Ghana’s red, yellow, and green flag.
Hundreds of white flowers formed the plinth for the coffin to sit on as soldiers in full dress uniform saluted the footballer.
Many wore black to mourn Atsu, while others proudly wore the colours of the nation’s flag.
Those in attendance included the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, who joined mourners for the state-assisted funeral. Throughout the proceedings, drumming groups and brass bands provided a colourful display in tribute to Atsu.
Marie-Claire Rupio, Atsu’s widow, read an emotional tribute to her late husband.
‘In life I love you darling, in death I’ll do the same,’ she said tearfully, the BBC reported.
Unable to continue, Rupio handed her eulogy speech over to Atsu’s sister who continued for her. ‘You did not go alone, for part of me went with you. Your smile, your love I see in our children’s smiles.’
Players and representatives from Hatayspor, the Turkish club Atsu was playing for when he was killed, also travelled to attend the ceremony. — Daily Mail.