Sports, Football

Ghana gives state funeral honours to soccer star Atsu

Published : 18 Mar 2023 08:47 PM

Ghana gave state funeral honours to former Black Stars and Chelsea player, Christian Atsu, who died in last month's earthquake in Turkey, with a ceremony led by President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Tributes were paid to the former Newcastle winger as he was laid to rest in a coffin draped in Ghana's national colours of red, yellow, green and black with calls to keep alive the legacy of the player who "gave his life to humanity".

At the state-assisted funeral held on the forecourt of Accra's State House, Atsu's widow Marie-Claire Rupio broke down while reading a tribute, saying he left with a part of her. "You did not go alone for part of me went with you. Your love is still my guide, and though I cannot see you, you are always so full of life," Rupio said.

"You seemed to be immortal. Your smile, your love, I see you in our children's smile."

Traditional performers were among those paying tribute while former team mates wore black-shirts with images of Atsu on the front. Grieving fans lined up to see his coffin which pay under a white marquee tent.

The 31-year-old footballer was discovered dead on February 18 following the 7.8-magnitude quake that hit southern Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing more than 50,000 people in both countries.