Ghana gives state funeral to soccer star Atsu killed in Turkey quake

Members of the Ghana Supporters Union attend the state-sponsored funeral of the late 31-year-old Ghanaian footballer Christian Utso Tawasum in Accra, Ghana. March 17, 2023 – Reuters

Ghanaians gathered outside the country’s parliament building in Accra on Friday for the funeral of national soccer team winger Christian Utso, who died in the process. Earthquake in southern Turkey last month.

Utsu went missing after an apartment building collapsed in Hatay following the February 6 earthquake. His body was later found under the debris and taken back to Ghana.

He was 31 years old.

Mourners filed silently by Atsu’s casket, which was draped in the Ghanaian national flag. He was remembered as a philanthropist by family, fans and those who benefited from his charitable donations.

“He’s more than a football player,” said Fedna Asare, a family friend. “His name will always be in our hearts because he helped so many people.”

Utso was due to leave southern Turkey hours before the earthquake but opted to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in the February 5 Super League match in Ghana.

The disaster killed more than 54,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

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