Christian Atsu, a winger for Turkish soccer club Hatayspor, was reportedly found alive after being buried under rubble in an earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. Now, according to Hatayspor manager Volkan Demirel, Atsu remains missing.
This unfortunate twist was also confirmed by Atsu’s manager Nana Sechere, on social media on Thursday.
I am currently in Istanbul.
The situation remains the same, Christian Atsu is yet to be found.
Unless I see Christian, or speak with him, I have no further updates. #prayforAtsu #PrayForTurkey
— Nana Sechere (@iAmNana7) February 9, 2023
“I am currently in Istanbul. The situation remains the same, Christian Atsu is yet to be found. Unless I see Christian, or speak with him, I have no further updates,” Sechere said.
On Wednesday, Sechere tweeted that there were false reports circulating about Atsu being rescued.
“Following yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) update from the club that Christian had been pulled out alive, we are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts. As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family and we are doing everything we can to locate Christian,” he said.
Oddly, Sechere had initially told CNN on Tuesday that he had “official confirmation” from Hatayspor that Atsu “was in hospital and that he is stable.”
Ghanaian Soccer Player Christian Atsu Is Still Missing
Atsu was first reported missing on Monday after a 7.8 magnitude quake rocked the region at around 4:17 am local time. At last count, The Guardian reports more than 19,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria and the damage is ongoing.
The Ghana Football Association tweeted news of Atsu’s rescue.
Update: We've received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment.
Let’s continue to pray for Christian🙏🏽
— Ghana Football Association (@ghanafaofficial) February 7, 2023
“Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble,” club vice president Mustafa Ozat told Radyo Gol.
Atsu was said to be receiving treatment but no further details about his injuries were provided.
Why Did Mustafa Ozat Say Atsu Was Rescued?
Not sure why a rescue was reported, but once Hatayspor vice president Mustafa Ozat and Ghana’s Football Association confirmed that Atsu had been rescued from the carnage and taken to a local hospital, other news outlets naturally started picking up what seemed to be a triumphant story of survival.
Tragedy is once again on everyone’s minds as the truth has been revealed, that a search is now ongoing for Atsu’s remains. Any hope that he is still alive has been shattered.
According to CNN, “In a WhatsApp message to CNN on Thursday, Sechere says that all of his updates have come directly from ‘my communications with the club, the British Consulate in Istanbul, the Ghana Consulate, The Ministry of Health, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkish Football Federation.’”
Who Is Christian Atsu?
He played in the Premier League for Chelsea, Everton, and New Castle from 2013-2021.
The Ghanaian winger last played for his country in 2019. At the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Atsu scored twice in a 3–0 win over Guinea in the quarter-finals, and led the team to the final, where they lost in a penalty shootout against the Ivory Coast. He was named the Player of the Tournament and was awarded the Goal of the Tournament for his strike against Guinea.
Last September he signed with Hatayspor. Atsu scored the deciding goal in the team’s game last Sunday hours before the earthquake.
Ghanaian 🇬🇭 player Christian Atsu scored last minute goal for his club to win yesterday, and less than 24hrs he can’t be found as reported.
Pray for Christian Atsu pic.twitter.com/g03BmXcNFG
— Africa News 360 (@africanewz360) February 6, 2023
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake was followed by a 7.5 magnitude aftershock in the afternoon. The region is reeling, and the Turkish government has declared a three-month state of emergency.
Thousands more fatalities and damages of at least $1 billion in economic losses are expected. The search for Atsu and other survivors continues. #prayforturkey