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Messi won World Cup at 35, Atsu was retired by 31 – Sonnie Badu calls out GFA

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Preacher and musician, Sonnie Badu has called on the Ghana Football Association to reform its mindset and change its attitude.

In his opinion, it is disturbing how the football body has virtually forced some players, over the years, into early retirement.

His views were contained in an open letter to the GFA in the aftermath of the funeral and burial of Black Stars player, Christian Atsu.

He referred to the case where Atsu, known to some as the Messi of Ghana, was retired by 31 years whereas Lionel Messi, the PSG star and Argentina skipper won the World Cup in Qatar at the age of 35.

“Dear GFA @chris_atsu has been finally laid to rest. However, let me say this .. Let this be a reform of mindset and a change of attitude…. I know our @ghana_fa_official chairman will do things differently

“I heard in recent interviews people saying that he was the Messi of Ghana… Well you guys retired him quick – whiles Messi is still playing the World Cup… Messi is 35 and Astu was 31 …

“Let us learn how to make players feel important while they are alive. We should not wait for something to happen to them before we take over their funeral expenses and all of that,” his letter read in part.

Atsu’s funeral and burial held

The March 17, 2023 final funeral rites of Christian Atsu attracted people from all walks of life as the forecourt of the State House buzzed with activity.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his vice were in attendance along with a high-powered government delegation. Also in attendance was the former president John Dramani Mahama.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) was led by its president Kurt Okraku who also led members of the association and a group of former Black Stars players.

GhanaWeb checks showed that a number of non-Ghanaian colleagues of the late Atsu were also in town for the event.

The most visible of them being Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor, the former Togolese international.

Also in attendance was Emmanuel Eboue, former Arsenal and Ivorian international, who were both captured by GhanaWeb lenses at the event.

The Ghana News Agency also reported the presence of Katalin Comoe, an Ivorian international at the funeral.

Atsu died in the February 6 earthquake that struck Turkey and parts of Syria. He was declared missing till his remains were recovered on February 18.

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