Atsu Shows Class

Last Saturday, September 8, will go down in history as the day Ghanaians unanimously acclaimed ineffable Christian Atsu as the new star on the horizon as the FC Porto midfielder stole the show in his second full game for the Black Stars and crowned a man-of-the-man display with a delicate opening goal against the Flames of Malawi at the Accra Stadium last Saturday.

Already touted as Ghana’s version of Argentina and Barcelona’s enigma, Lionel Messi, Atsu’s eighth minute finish inside the Malawi box not only completed a three-man orchestra conducted by returnee Skipper Asamoah Gyan and half-fit Andre Dede Ayew, but suddenly turned on the near-capacity crowd to roar at his every move throughout the match won 2-0 by the Black Stars following Anthony Annan’s 52nd minute masterpiece from the edge of the box. It was the second successive goal scored by Atsu for the Stars in home matches, after netting on his debut against Lesotho in Kumas a few months ago

Given a free role by Coach Kwasi Appiah in this 2013 Africa Nations Cup final round first leg qualifier, the former Feyenoord Academy star graced the turf with his dazzling skills, making him a victim of Malawi’s hatchet men anytime he had the ball.

As the 10-man Malawi side remained resolute even with two goals down, Atsu continued to take the shine out of his teammates — except Isaac Vorsah who perhaps had his best game yet for the Stars – and almost hit a brace after 84 minutes from a Solomon Asante set-up but for the base of the upright, with goalkeeper Simplex Nthala completely beaten.

From zero to hero, the nimble-footed midfielder made his debut for the Black Stars courtesy Coach Kwasi Appiah on June 1, 2012 in Kumasi where he made a statement as a second half substitute with a great goal in the 7-0 walloping of Lesotho in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. The Cinderella story has continued since for the 20-year-old player who enjoyed his fourth cap with the Stars last Saturday, having broken into the FC Porto first team a couple of months back from a loan stint in Rio Ave.

For those who knew this boy wonder, born in Ada Foah, from his humble beginnings in Feyenoord under the tutelage of Coach Sam Arady till his sudden transfer to Cheetah FC prior to his eventual transfer to Portugal in January 2010, Atsu’s meteoric rise has never been in doubt. He was just a rocket waiting to shoot into the skies to attract global attraction. And that he did in style in the full glare of Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur who was present to inspire the Stars to quench the Flames and secure a significant win to honour the memory of the late President, Prof John Evans Atta Mills.

No wonder Atsu was selected alongside Coach Kwasi Appiah and heavily-policed Gyan and Dede Ayew for the post-match press conference as if to endorse his status as the best thing to happen to Ghana Football this year. A star is indeed born!

source: Graphic Sports