Images of a badly battered Christian Atsu, a Ghanaian professional footballer in Turkiye has confirmed his death, bringing to an end the suspense and causing pain about his fate in the earthquake that struck the country.
The unexpected death of Atsu, especially the means by which he was forced out of life, highlight the uncertainties which surround the existence of mankind.
In the twists and turns of life, every second, every minute, and every hour on the timeline would matter in the varying degrees of life’s schedule. Atsu’s case exemplifies this truism, for just a single stroke like the spanner thrown at a project, caused a massive twist of fate in his circumstances.
Reports say, Christian Atsu had scored his maiden goal for his club, in the previous day. The player was doubly jubilant, especially as that goal aided an important win for Hatayspor. Just like all human beings retire home after a hard day’s work, Christian Atsu got back to the ninth floor of the apartment building in which he lived. Little did he know, that awaiting him was a phenomenon of apocalyptic proportion.
The February 6, 2023, earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria left thousands dead and many more injured. The Ghanaian footballer happened to be in the affected areas at the wrong time. Twelve days on, his lifeless body was pulled out of the rubble at the disaster scene, and this put to pain the population of Ghana, and others who are interested in this particular story.
The suspense is over, unbelievably Atsu is dead and gone, by circumstances not ever expected to happen. Scientists never predicted, neither was it foreseen by seers. A mystique which belongs to the order of the supernatural. Knowing all powers belong to God, we cannot scratch our heads too much with regards to the football star whose career had climbed up to dizzying heights, only to be forced down to earth by earthquake.
Christian Atsu became conspicuous as a footballer when former Black Stars coach, Kwasi Appiah in the hunt to replenish the squad after 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa, identified the player for selection. The 2012/13 soccer seasons ushered Atsu’s career into klieg lighting, and the player proved his mettle. He was not an ordinary footballer, evidenced by the tournament’s best player medal when he helped Ghana to the grand finale of the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
Atsu played in the English Premier League, for Newcastle United and Chelsea. He moved to Hatayspor in Turkiye, in a switch that brightened once again, the near lustre on his career when he was released by his club and became a free agent.
For those who can remember Ghana football of yesteryear, Christian Atsu’s style of play as an attacking midfielder is the replica of John Bannerman who played for Kumasi Asante Kotoko up to the first half of the 1980s, and Emmanuel Sackey of Accra Great Olympics and Hearts of Oak fame. For sometime, the Black Stars of Ghana had been on the decline and one of the explanations for this is the lack of attacking fluency.
Christian Atsu’s exit from the team is clearly one of the reasons the Ghana side has failed to engineer the soccer artistry synonymous with it in the past. He was a player who superbly moved forward with the ball, and hardly propelled the rotund leather backwards in the anxiety to get goals.