Pulse Picks: 6 Ghanaian footballers who died in 2023

Sport, football in particular, has brought joy to Ghanaians for many years. It is for this reason that the country is referred to as a football nation.

Pulse Picks: 6 Ghanaian footballers who died in 2023

Although the Black Stars haven’t been performing so well in recent times, the sport, through its various actors, still provided some worthy moments of spark.

On the downside, though, 2023 saw some current and ex-players transition into the world of ghosts following their unfortunate passing.

From Christian Atsu to Raphael Dwamena and to the legendary Ernest Papa Arko, we will miss the footballers who died this year.

As we bring the curtain down on the year, Pulse Sports chronicles six Ghanaian footballers who lost their lives in 2023:


Christian Atsu

Christian Atsu tragically passed away after his lifeless body was pulled out of the rubble in the wake of the earthquake in Turkey.

This followed days of intense search by authorities after the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria in mid-February.

The ex-Chelsea and Newcastle United winger, who is survived by a wife and three children, was laid to rest on Friday, March 17, 2022, in his hometown in Ada.


Raphael Dwamena

Ghanaian footballer Raphael Dwamena also sadly passed away at the age of 28 while featuring in a game between FK Egnatia and Partizani on November 11, 2023.

Play was stopped and the match was eventually suspended when Dwamena, who had a chronic heart condition, abruptly fell to the ground and fell unconscious.

His teammates quickly called for the medics to attend to him, but they were unable to successfully resuscitate the former Red Bull Salzburg forward.


Ernest Papa Arko

Former captain of Asante Kotoko, Ernest Papa Arko, also died on November 26 after reportedly battling a short illness.

Papa Arko was an influential figure at Kotoko in his prime and was part of the side that won the African Cup of Champions Clubs, now known as the CAF Champions League, in 1983.

The Kotoko legend also lined up for the Black Stars, where he played in two Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournaments.


Robert Eshun

Another death that hit the Ghanaian football community was the passing of former Black Stars player Robert Eshun, who died in London at the age of 48.

Eshun reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest while driving himself to work, which led to his death. He was a fan favourite during his time with Ghana Premier League side Asante Kotoko between the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He is fondly remembered for his decisive goal in the final of the FA in 1990, where the Porcupine Warriors recorded a 4-2 win over rivals Hearts of Oak. He later moved abroad and had stints with clubs in Belgium, Turkey and Malaysia before hanging up his boots in 2003.


Joe Debrah

Ghana football and Asante Kotoko mourned the death of another legend when Joe Debrah was confirmed dead in October.

His demise was announced by the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG), although the cause of death wasn’t made public.

Debrah, who died at 52, lined up for Kotoko for eight years and also had a short stint with Ivorian side Africa Sports.


Thomas Quaye

Another ex-Ghanaian footballer who passed away in 2023 is Thomas Quaye. He died at the 37 Military Hospital battling a cerebrovascular accident.

The former defender lined up for Ghana Premier League giants Hearts of Oak and won the league with them in the 1989/90 season.

He also took up a role in coaching after retiring and managed lower-tier sides like Universal FC, the Five Star FC, Subway FC, Third World FC, Fire Rehoboth FC and Fire Service FC.


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