The game quickly escaped Guinea-Bissau who desperately hunted and hunted. Ghana led 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the 2015 CAN hosted by Equatorial Guinea, and with just 15 minutes into the second half, belief and hope began to quickly evaporate for the Guinea which was clinging desperately to straws.
In the moments that followed, something of pure class and divine artistry happened. It was, in fact, a thing of sheer daring performed with painstaking surgical precision.
Mubarak Wakaso took possession of the pitch in the middle of the field and, in a fraction of a millisecond, searched for spaces and opportunities. He then threw a sizzling cross pass towards Christian Atsu whose sinister demeanor on the right flank had an air of sinister mischief.
Atsu romantically stroked the ball and put it under control and also under his own spell with his subtle and miniature touches. And amid the joyous and joyous chants and chants and the festive mood, amid the constant howling of vuvuzelas echoing throughout the stadium, Christian Atsu continued to do the inconceivable.
He skillfully beat his marker, thus fabricating himself space and time. He quickly looked at the Guinean goal, spotted the goalkeeper far from his line and began to calculate angles, vectors and arcs: see through gravity and scold her.
He then generated a supreme, nasty spin on the ball with his thunderous spanking, and he made his way to the far post to give Ghana the advantage 3-0, recording their second of the match and causing the madness of the crowd. .
It was a tournament that Christian Atsu was quite unstoppable. A competition in which he was named player of the tournament despite Ghana’s unsuccessful attempt and brutal efforts at CAN 2015 to end its own long-awaited trophy drought.
There is no denying what a good footballer Christian Atsu is. Its frightening and dazzling rhythm. The ability to accelerate at full speed and decelerate sharply to bamboozle his markers and let them chase the shadows helplessly.
His very cunning nature and his sense of dribbling: a salient asset in his astounding weaponry. It is for this same reason that the 29-year-old managed to leave an indelible mark during his stint at Vitesse and Rio Ave.
On loan with both clubs, he won the Player of the Season award at Vitesse in the 2013/14 season after previously winning the Player of the Year award at Rio Ave in 2012.
It’s not a complete shock that in Porto, who bought him from Feyenoord, he was voted Best Young Player and added the FIFA Blue Stars Youth Cup Best Player Award to his own collection.
So, the simple question is: what explains Christian Atsu’s stagnant and now plummeting career?
Currently, for the sake of perspective he has been relegated to Newcastle’s U23 squad and even there he was forced to just six miserable games with just one goal under his belt.
And yet, in retrospect, it was possible to glimpse his move to Chelsea in 2013 as a huge turning point: the kind of stepping stone needed to catapult him to greatness and then stardom.
It is quite true that insignificant injuries have mainly plagued his England career – 124 days off due to injuries since the 2017/18 campaign. And yet golden opportunities and openings have presented themselves to the former Chelsea player to remind Newcastle groupies of his unique and absurd qualities.
The feeling now is that his £ 30,000-a-week contract which expires on June 30 of this year will see him become a free agent, with Newcastle United taking the precaution not to renew.
Naturally, one is tempted to wonder where it all went wrong for this curiously entertaining player? To remember history is to deploy and unearth promising footballers who have not reached their full potential.
To find out that despite the early days of massive applause and celebrity status, there is still a lingering possibility for footballers to flatter and cheat over time. Take, for example, Robinho, Alexander Pato, Mario Balotelli, Jack Wilshere, as a case study.
So what future for Christian Atsu? It is highly unlikely that CK Akonnor will remember the winger with the CAN approaching quickly due to his lack of playing time.
Often times, the national team provided a way for many players to market themselves and land massive contracts with clubs. Here, it is difficult to envision a similar situation happening for Atsu.
One can only hope that somehow, in the midst of all this debilitating commotion, in the midst of all the hidden shadows and faint voices, he will be reborn.
By: Bright Nana Boafo Antwi