Christian Atsu was player of the tournament at the last finals of the African Cup of Nations in 2015 and he is showing every sign of living up to that billing once again.

The Newcastle winger was named man of the match after Ghana beat Uganda 1-0 in their opening group game on Tuesday.

The on-loan United player and his Ghana teammates next face Mali on Saturday (21 Jan) and finally Egypt next Wednesday (25 Jan), before the knockout stages begin.

The reaction of the media in Africa has also been interesting to read.

Reporting on the game, Supersport described Christian Atsu as ‘unplayable’ and that Uganda would have been three down at half-time if it hadn’t been for their goalkeeper.

Such was his impact, Atsu was also said to have made the watching Ugandan fans ‘dizzy’ as he tied his opponents in knots with his dribbling skills.

As for Christian Atsu, he was modest and laid back as usual, simply saying ‘I keep working and keep praying to do my best’.

Supersport:

‘Either Uganda did not watch clips of Christian Atsu at the last African Cup of Nations or their game plan to stop him on Tuesday simply was not good enough.

Milutin Sredojevic was expected to mastermind a famous Afcon win against the fancied Black Stars in Port Gentil, but a key reason why his side lost was the nimble-footed Newcastle winger.

Particularly in the first half, he was unplayable, speeding at every full back threat thrown at him. Of note was the hapless Joseph Ochaya, who, incidentally, has been based in Ghana recently. Atsu run rings around him as to make Ugandan fans dizzy.

In front of the Kampala City Council man was also Tony Mawejje, who really had no answers to Atsu’s mazy runs and link up play with the Ghana midfield.

For his reward, the Newcastle United midfielder was named Total Man of the Match as his side won 1-0. But for the equally stellar Denis Onyango, Uganda would have surely taken in three goals at half time.’

Christian Atsu:

“I keep working and keep praying to do my best.

 “I was a bit tired but as the tournament goes on we will get better and be able to play for longer periods.

“Personally, I am disappointed I am not on the score sheet.

“I got great chances to score but the win is all that matters and we are hoping we will be able to score more than just a goal in the next game.

“In 2015 we lost our first game and won the last 2 but this time a win in this game will make things much easier for us.”