Atsu Wanted To Move To UAE
It has emerged that Christian Atsu, the Ghanaian football international, wanted to leave Turkey for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to continue his career.
According to a former spokesperson for the Ghana Football Association (GFA), weeks before the heart- wrenching incident, Atsu had messaged him about wanting to move to the Arab nation for greener pastures.
“He texted me that he did not want to play in Turkey anymore,” the former BBC journalist, who was very close to the deceased, said on TV3 on Saturday.
Saani Daara said he had even begun getting in touch with some of his contacts in the UAE for a possible move to that country.
The 31-year-old, who was plying his trade in the European nation, was last Saturday February 18, confirmed dead, after he was caught under the rubble, following a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6 in Turkey.
His team, HataysporKulubu, had confirmed on twitter “The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the rubble (debris), is on his way to be sent to his hometown, Ghana. We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness, REST in PEACE ATSU.”
Murat Uzunmehmet, who is believed to have had a close relationship with Christian Atsu, and some credit him for his involvement in the forward’s transfer to Hatayaspor, also tweeted “Christian Atsu found and sadly passed away.”
Mr.Daara, who is in the Ivory Coast on Confederation of African Football (CAF) and West African Football Union (WAFU) duties, had followed Atsu during his days in Portugal before the player was called by then coach Kwasi Appiah to join the senior national team, the Black Stars of Ghana.
Atsu, who scored for his side, Hatayspor Kulubu, on the eve of the earthquake, went missing after the incident.
Many had hoped he would be found alive after thousands of victims of the quake, including babies, were rescued from the rubble. Off the pitch, Atsu had touched many lives through his philanthropic work.
He financed the ‘Crime Check TV Gh’ programme and ensured people who were incarcerated into prison were freed after he settled their debts.
The father of two is also known to have extended his good work to the underprivileged, schools, pregnant women, students and celebrities, among others. A Nigerian comedian and skit maker was apparently one of the benefactors of Atsu, Emmanuel Iwueke after he came out claiming he paid his fees until he completed school.
In one of his interviews, Atsu said he chose to support others because he knew what it feels like to be from a poor background having come from one. He lost his father at a very early stage of his life through a tragic circumstance.
Tributes have poured in from various quarters, especially the football world across the world.
The deceased, who won AFCON 2015 Player of the tournament, Best Goal and was shortlisted for CAF Best Player 2015 and 2016, has had tributes coming from his former clubs, players and friends abroad.
Big clubs such as Chelsea, Everton, Newcastle, Bournemouth and ex-team mate, John Terry, have all sent out their condolences.
The English Premier League announced it will observe a minute’s silence for Christian Atsu over the weekend, starting with Newcastle’s game against Liverpool. The GFA also did same.
There had been conflicting reports about of his being rescued, but it later emerged that he was still under the rubble of an earthquake which has so far killed over 40, 000 people.
The former Black Star winger signed for the Turkish Super Lig side in September, last year on an initial one-year contract, making only three appearances.
He signed from Saudi side Al-Raed, having plied his trade in Portugal, England, Holland and Spain.
His body is due in Ghana soon for burial. Atsu, a twin, was born in Ada Foah in the Greater Accra Region, is survived by a German wife Maria-Claire, two sons and a daughter.
Meanwhile, Ghanaians continueto mourn and express their deepest condolences on social media to the family of the bereaved.
President Akufo-Addo, in a message of consolation on his Facebook, said: “‘The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away’… Job 1:21.”
He said: “On behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, I extend sincere, heartfelt condolences to the widow, children and family of our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, on the sad news of his death.”
“Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace. He will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in the Bosom of the Almighty until the Last Day of the Resurrection when we shall all meet again. Amen!”
Former President John Mahama also in a message wrote: “RIP Christian Atsu! We all held our breaths, and we prayed as we heard the miracles of people pulled out of the rubble. We prayed that ours would be one of those miracles, too. Alas, it was not to be. But in all, we give thanks to the almighty God for giving Atsu to us even for the short 31 years of his life. At this time, Lordina and I extend our deepest condolences to his family and the football fraternity in Ghana and across the globe.”
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia also wrote on Facebook: “In a nervous state, we were hoping for the best of news. Now, we are a nation in grief, following news of the tragic demise of our illustrious son, Christian Atsu. My deepest condolences to his widow, family and friends. Rest in peace, Christian.”