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FIFA, CAF, Ghana FA, NFF, Chelsea, others mourn Christian Atsu

FOOTBALL governing bodies led by FIFA, as well as Christian Atsu’s former clubs and colleagues have been mourning the untimely death of the Ghanaian footballer.

Atsu, 31, was confirmed dead yesterday after being underneath the rubble following the devastating earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6 and killed over 45,000 people.

Football’s supreme organisation FIFA led the condolences, writing on social media: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Christian Atsu.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and all those affected by the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.”

The Confederation of African Football also mourned the former Ghana international, issuing a short statement.

“CAF is saddened by the tragic passing of Ghana international, Christian Atsu following the earthquake in Turkey,” the continental body wrote on its website.

“Atsu, who represented his country 65 times, played for a number of clubs including Everton, Chelsea, Newcastle in England and Porto. At the time of his tragic death, he was plying his trade in Turkey for Hatayspor.

“CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe and African Football Family conveys heartfelt condolences to his family and Ghanian Football Family.

“May Christian Atsu’s soul rest in peace!”

Atsu’s tragic passing is obviously felt most in his native Ghana, and the football association of the country joined in mourning the player who wore their colours.

“The Ghana Football Association has received the sad news of the recovery of the body of Christian Atsu from the rubble following the earthquake that struck Southern and Central Turkey on Monday, February 6, 2023,” the GFA noted.

“The Ghana Embassy in Turkey, his club Hatayspor and his agent Nana Sechere have confirmed that the body was recovered early this morning, Saturday, February 18, 2023 after almost two weeks of emotional torture.

“We would like to express our deepest condolences to his wife and children, the family, loved ones and the football community.

“Christian Atsu won 65 caps for Ghana and helped the Black Stars reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final in Equatorial Guinea where Ghana lost to Ivory Coast on penalties.

“May his Soul Rest in Peace!”

Nigeria set aside their fierce rivalry with Ghana to support their fellow West Africans in this period of mourning, through the the Nigeria Football Federation.

“We are sending our deepest condolences to the family of Ghanaian international Christian Atsu, his friends and our brothers @ghanafaofficial. May his soul rest in peace,” the NFF tweeted.

The Premier League wrote: “We are deeply saddened by the news Christian Atsu lost his life in the devastation of the earthquakes that have hit Turkey and Syria.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with Christian’s family and friends and everyone affected by this tragic event.”

Chelsea, one of Atsu’s former clubs, also expressed their condolences.

“Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of our former player, Christian Atsu. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends,” the club tweeted.

Newcastle United, the club he served the longest, making over 120 appearances in five seasons, paid special tribute to Atsu during their Premier League match against Liverpool yesterday.

Atsu’s partner and his kids were invited to the match and a minute of applause was dedicated to the late club hero.

“We are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes,” the club wrote.

“A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters.

“Rest in peace, Christian.”

Former Ghana international Stephen Appiah was apparently distraught, writing on Twitter: “This was not the news we were expecting bro but God knows best.

“My condolences to the widow and family of our brother Christian Atsu.

“May he find rest. We will miss you.”

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Naija Times