Former captain of the Ghana Black Stars, Asamoah Gyan aka Baby Jet left the 73rd FIFA Congress on time to represent at the State House for the funeral rites of his colleague and teammate, Christian Atsu Twasam who was buried on Friday, March 17, 2023.
Asamoah Gyan announced his presence with a performance of local High Life songs. He joined the band to sing as a sign of respect and sympathy for his late friend who died in an earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria.
The crowd at the State House, on seeing him rushed and it had to take security personnel some time to disperse them.
The well-attended funeral attracted some foreign stars including Togolese Super Star Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor, Katalin Comoe an Ivorian International and Emmanuel Eboue another Ivorien who played for Arsenal.
Atsu was buried in his hometown at Dogobome in the Greater Accra Region.
The funeral which was well organized with support from the government was attended by President Nana Akufo-Addo, former President John Mahama, Vice President Bawumia, Sports Minister, Hon. Mustapha Ussif and many Black Stars players.
Some of the old stars spotted were Stephen Tornado Appiah, John Mensah, Sammy Kufour, John Paintsill, Sulley Muntari, Mubarak Wakaso, Sam Johnson, Yaw Preko, Augustine Arhinful, Arthur Moses, Felix Aboagye, Afo Dodoo, Godwin Attram, Richard Kingston, and others.
The Maestro of Ghana Football, Abedi Ayew Pele and striker, Anthony Yeboah were all spotted at the event.
New Black Stars coach Chris Houghton and his assistant, George Boateng did not miss out.
Atsu's wife, Marie and her kids were all present alongside representatives of his Turkish club. Vice President of Hatayspor, Mustafa Özat, the last team that Atsu played for was there.
The Turkey Ambassador to Ghana was also in attendance as well as some Members of Parliament and the Greater Accra Regional Minister.
Mourners, who were all dressed in red and black, could not hold back their tears as tributes poured in at the funeral grounds.
The tributes were centred on the generosity, humility, and love shown by the talented footballer on and off the pitch.
“…In life I love you dearly, in death I do the same… You did not go alone, for part of me went with you. Your smile, your love I see in our children’s smiles,” Marie-Claire Rupio, his widow, said, as she sorrowfully read her tribute.
The Sports Minister, who read a tribute for the State, said: “Even at the peak of his career, Astu remained himself and was never overtaken by pride, arrogance or indiscipline,” adding that the national hero’s legacy would remain as an inspiration.
His alma mater, Potsin T.I. Ahmadiya Secondary School, described him as an exemplary person and philanthropist, who was always willing and ready to sacrifice for the School.
The School said it was painful that just a few days after Atsu had sent a message to support his alma mater’s developmental projects, he died tragically.
Archbishop Ampofo of the Lighthouse Chapel International, who preached at the funeral service, reminded people of life after death and urged them to live a righteous life as no one knew the day of death just like Atsu.
“Prepare for you do not know who’s next [to die],” Archbishop Ampofo, said to the mourners.
Alhaji Abdul Hayye Yartey, founder of Cheetah FC took Atsu to Europe for the first time, as his manager also could not hold his tears, but was able to lead the organization of a splendid funeral programme.
Born to Mr and Mrs Atsu Twasam on January 10, 1992, the 31-year-old former winger of Ghana’s Black Stars, played 107 games for Newcastle and had spells with Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth.
He made 65 appearances for Ghana and helped the national side reach the finals of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea – where he was honoured with the best goal and player of the tournament award.
Surprisingly, he did not win the SWAG Footballer of the year but was described as one of Ghana's best players at the African Cup tournament.