Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu found dead
Ghana national player and former Premier League footballer Christian Atsu was found dead Saturday beneath the wreckage of the residence where he lived – in the Turkish southern province of Hatay – local media reported, quoting his manager Murat Uzunmehmet.
“Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found,” Uzunmehmet mentioned.
The 31-year-old athlete, who played for Newcastle United and Everton, had been missing since powerful earthquakes struck Turkey and neighbouring Syria on February 6, killing more than 45,000 people to date. Atsu was falsely reported as having been taken to the hospital last week.
“He was one heck of a player,” Ghana sports broadcaster Michael Oti Adjei told BBC World Service Sportshour, adding “When he made his debut, there was talk of a nickname of Ghana’s Messi.”
Atsu’s agent Nana Sechere, who has been in Hatay, took to Twitter on Saturday to confirm the player’s demise and to ask “everyone” to “respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.”
The Ghanaian footballer joined Hatayspor, a Turkish Super Lig club based in Hatay, in September. He had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the pre-dawn quake from last week, but Hatayspor’s manager Fatih Ilek mentioned on Friday that the player decided to stay with the club after scoring the game-winning goal in a Super Lig match on February 5.
The recent natural disaster has made scores of people in the quake-ravaged nations homeless. Millions of survivors are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. A number of governments and aid organisations across the globe have pledged support for the earthquake victims, while thousands of search and rescue personnel and hundreds of specially-trained dogs are working day in and day out to pull people out of the rubble alive.