The body of Ghanaian winger Christian Atsu was brought home to Accra on Sunday night, a day after he was found dead under a collapsed building in southern Turkey.
Atsu has been missing since the February 6 earthquake after the collapse of an apartment building in Hatay. He was 31 years old.
Draped in Ghana’s national flag, Atsu’s coffin was greeted at the capital’s Kotoka International Airport by Vice President Mahamudu Baumea and a large military honor guard.
“We wished against hope, every day that went by, we prayed and prayed. But sadly, when it was found, it was no longer there,” Baumea told a crowd of mourners on the runway.
Atsu was due to fly in from southern Turkey hours before the quake, but the Hatayspor manager said on Friday that the Ghanaian had chosen to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in a Super League match on February 5.
He joined Hatayspor in September last year after stints with Premier League sides Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle United.
He also earned 65 caps for Ghana and helped them reach the final of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, where they lost to Ivory Coast on penalties. He was last selected to play for Ghana in 2019.
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to his wife, children, family, loved ones and the football community,” the Ghana Football Association said on Saturday. “May his soul rest in peace.”