Hatayspor’s Christian Atsu missing after Turkey earthquake

Ghana international Christian Atsu is among those missing after a residential building collapsed following Monday’s devastating earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria.

The former Chelsea and Newcastle player scored a 97th-minute winner for Turkey’s top flight club Hatayspor in their 1-0 win against Kasımpasa on Sunday night but was killed hours later after the 7.8 magnitude tremor that struck entire blocks of flats in collapsed several Turkish cities, reported missing and Syrian cities.

Hatayspor spokesman Mustafa Ozat told Turkish media that “Christian Atsu and [club sporting director] Taner Savut are still under the rubble.”

He added that at least two other Hatayspor players have been rescued and the club is working to help others. Atsu and Savut are the only two Hatayspor players or officials still missing, Ozat said.

The powerful earthquake killed more than 2,700 people in part of Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, with freezing winter weather leaving plight of thousands injured or homeless and hampering efforts to find survivors.

The area was first struck by an earthquake at 4:17 a.m. local time (1:17 a.m. GMT), before a second 7.7-magnitude quake struck in the early afternoon.

The earthquake’s epicenter is thought to have been near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 145 km (90 miles) from Antakya, where Atsu is stationed along with Hatayspor.

Atsu, 31, played in the Premier League for Newcastle United and Everton on loan from Chelsea but joined Hatayspor in September.

Newcastle, who Atsu helped promote from the Championship in the 2016-17 campaign, tweeted that they were “praying for some positive news”. Chelsea also tweeted her prayers.

Atsu was last selected for Ghana in 2019 but has not yet officially retired from international football.

“We pray for Ghana International Christian Atsu and the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria,” the Ghana Football Association tweeted. “We continue to hope for positive news.”

Ghana Football Association spokesman Henry Asante-Twum wrote in an email to The Associated Press that they had no news from Atsu and that Ghana’s international relations department was seeking information from the Turkish authorities.

After making his debut in Ghana in 2012, he represented the Black Stars at the 2014 World Cup and four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the survivors and we pray that our compatriot Christian Atsu is found safe and sound,” Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted.

Information from Reuters, The Associated Press and ESPN’s Ed Dove was included in this report.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/hatayspor/story/4871186/hatayspors-christian-atsusporting-director-missing-after-turkey-earthquake Hatayspor’s Christian Atsu missing after Turkey earthquake

Emma Bowman

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