Ghana legend ‘Atsu was the definition of how football can impact life and communities’

Christian Atsu Twasam

A star has fallen…. ThisIsFootball.Africa spoke to Aboagye Senyah, a prominent supporter of Asante Kotoko SC, who aren’t just a Ghanaian or West African club team, but also an African giant. Who better than a fellow countryman of the now late Christian Atsu, to give us his opinion about the general mood in Ghana since the demise of their national team hero?  Senyah tells us about an exemplary human being. Indeed, one of Ghana’s and the world’s “Black Stars” has sadly fallen….

Umar Mathir (UM): Good evening Aboagye Senyah, once again, welcome to the pages of ThisIsFootball.Africa, once more I’d first like to ask you how your family is holding up since we first spoke to you right after your mum’s passing on?

Aboagye Senyah (AS): Good evening Umar, we are doing good, yet at the same time feeling devastated about Christian Atsu’s catastrophe.

UM: May his soul rest in peace. This is actually the reason I got in touch with you this evening, to talk about Christian Atsu…firstly, let’s talk about Christian Atsu the footballer…what can you tell us, as a fellow countryman of this hero?

AS: Christian Atsu’s loss is felt by not only his relatives and friends, but also to all Ghanaians who can be counted as an extended family as well as the global football fraternity. He also gave his all on the pitch and he also made sure that he was a better human being off it as well.

UM: Apparently he has never played in the Ghana Premier League, how true is this claim?

AS: It’s true that he’s never played in the GPL itself, however he did feature locally in Ghana for the Feyernoord Academy at Gomoa Fetteh and Cheetah FC which is a division 2 club in Kasoa, both in the central region of Ghana.

Christian Atsu Twasam
Christian Atsu Twasam

UM: Is this the very same football academy from Gomoah Fetteh that is known as West African Football Academy (WAFA) ?

AS: Yes, the name has been changed by the new owners and the team moved their home ground to Sogakope Redbull Arena.

UM: How did Christian Atsu end up in Turkey, please take us through his journey briefly?

AS: His career began as a footballer once Cheetah FC transferred him to FC Porto’s youth team in 2009 whereby he remained in Portugal up until 2011, after which he was eventually promoted to their senior team, from there he was loaned out to Rio Ave. In the year 2013 he was signed by Chelsea FC and then was loaned to teams such as Vitesse, Everton, Bournemouth, Malaga and eventually Newcastle United, who then signed him permanently for a few seasons up until 2021. He then moved to Al Raed for a season before joining Hatayspor in Turkey up until he met his tragic fate.

UM: Wow, he’s been around the proverbial block, well-travelled and experienced too,  65 caps for the Black Stars we believe?

AS: He made it to 65 caps with a total of nine goals.

UM: Not many people reach 50 caps my man, that is a remarkable feat considering that he’s reached 65 caps by the age of  30 or 31.

AS: Yes he’s served our nation really well.

UM: Tell us about Christian Atsu the human being?

AS: (He was) not just an ordinary human being, but much more than that, he was a humanitarian….

UM: …. (Cuts in) Please elaborate?

AS: Atsu was the definition of how football can impact life and communities. He did a lot of charity work. Two years ago he brought a huge pile of football boots of his own as well as of a few of his teammates to Ghana to donate to charity, as an example.

Another way of his contribution to communities here in Ghana, was paying court fines which some people who could not afford and were thus imprisoned. He would assist those who could not afford those kinds of fines and help free them.

UM: What went through your mind, when you first found out that he’d been missing ever since those devastating earthquakes literally ripped through certain parts of Turkey as well as neighbouring Syria?

AS: I had a strong conviction within myself that he was going to be found alive, alas, it was not to be and I was, and still am dismayed to have received the sad news of his passing on.

UM: I personally was hoping we’d hear, “He was found safe and sound by people he knew locally…” and each time I asked people in different parts of the world if they had heard anything, each time I’d hear an agonising  “No, he hasn’t been found yet….then, this morning (18th february 2023) I got the shattering news, how did you find out?”

AS: While I was listening to sports news, it came in as a breaking news report.

UM: How much of an obvious damper or gloom has this loss put on the nation?

AS: Losing him has put our people into a state of sorrow which in actual reality is a national mourning.

Christian Atsu Twasam

UM: Aboagye, I just had a very brief chat to a coach called Muhsin Ertugral, who is very well versed with football in my country (South Africa) and our Premier Soccer League, he’s coached here successfully on more than one occasion, at the time of chatting to the high level tactician, he had this very short message for us all:

      Umar Mathir: Coach, Banyana Banyana are in Turkey, I’ve met

       both coach Shilene Booysen as well as coach Cameron Cox

       hours before they left for your country…

       Muhsin Ertugral: Great to see that, I am happy that they went to

        Turkey.  We have so much difficulties at present.

       Umar Mathir: May God make it easy for all of you who are

       affected by this tragedy, I saw the death toll, under 50 000 (At the

        -time of the conversation) , coach, I’m interviewing a supporter of 

        Asante Kotoko SC in Ghana, with regards to the passing on of 

       Christian Atsu, any message from your side?

       Muhsin Ertugral: We are all heartbroken to hear that sad news ,

       I send my condolences to his family, and all his loved ones, as 

        well as to every single family, friend and loved ones of every

       person who lost their lives. May their souls Rest in peace.

AS: Okay…this is really heart-warming solidarity from Turkey itself.

UM: From my side,  as a writer for TIFA, on behalf of our editor and the entire TIFA team, our countrywomen and men, and most importantly as a brother to you, an Africa born brother, I’d like to use this interview with you, to convey our deepest sympathies to the family of Christian Atsu, his twin sister Christina Atsupe Taswam, his friends, loved ones, Ghanaians as well as the global football fraternity. We are saddened by the loss of your national icon, as well as every soul that departed this world tragically in Turkey and to everyone affected, please accept our sincerest condolences and may this message also reach out to every single person who reads it.

AS: Thank you for your support and sympathy during this time. I’d like to also send my condolences to the people of Turkey, and families, both in and out of Turkey and Syria and wherever else the tragedy has hit,  as well as to my countrymen and family of the late Christian Atsu.

UM: Once again, I’m humbled to have had this chat with with you, the most important stakeholder of the game (Our personal view on all football fans and readers worldwide) , thank you once again for taking the time out of your personal schedule to chat to us, remain blessed and always keep it real.

AS: You are always welcome boss.

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