PROFILE: George Weah: First Ever World Footballer Of The Year To Be Elected President

Former football star & Liberian Senator, George Weah [Photo credit: Forbes]

George Manneh Weah could dribble, sprint and shoot. He also possessed a good leap to power headers past goalkeepers. But he has scored his best ever goal by winning the Liberian presidential election following results announced Thursday evening.

Weah is not your ordinary African footballer, who just wanted to play football to escape the harsh reality of poverty and his childhood. He dreamed he could help his country and he initially did through his prowess on the football pitch. But he is about to be handed the keys to the presidential mansion, where he can make all those differences he had always dreamed about.

It is instructive to note that Weah defeated the outgoing Liberia President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in the first round of balloting in 2005. However, just like in 2017, he did not pole the required 51 per cent of votes in the first round. In the second round in 2015, Johnson-Sirleaf polled 59 per cent of the votes compared to 41 per cent for Weah.

But right now, the 51-year-old has the opportunity to score political goals 14 years after retiring from scoring football goals!

The first African nation to pronounce her freedom -1847 – has become the first African nation to prove that football can mean power – in the right hands.

WEAH THE FOOTBALLER

Born October 1, 1966, Weah started his footballing career in Liberia. The current Arsenal of England coach, Arsene Wenger, brought him to Europe when he signed for Monaco in 1988. He moved to French giant PSG in 1992 long before Arab money mad the club the power house it is now. He won the French League in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. In 1995, he signed for Italian giants AC Milan, after they had lost the Champions League final of that year to Ajax, where he spent four successful seasons, and won the Italian Serie A twice. He moved to England towards the end of his career and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, before returning to France to play for Marseille in 2001. He subsequently ended his career with Al-Jazira in the UAE 2003. At international level, he represented Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions.

Throughout his career, Weah proved he was not the ordinary footballer. He is still the one and only player ever to hold the African, European and World diadem for the best footballer at the same time (1995).

WEAH THE PRESIDENT

Right now, Weah has won more than the Ballon d’ Or in his native Liberia as he has been elected the president.

He will become the first ever world footballer of the year to become president of a country.
Indications from Monrovia by external observers have said the polls were largely free and fair.

Former Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan, one of the observers of the Liberian run-off election told the BBC that though there were some challenges, he was sure the result would be fair to all contestants.

“The ballot box has replaced bullets and electoral disputes are settled through the courts,” he said of elections in the country that witnessed several years of civil war prior to 2005.

Whilst playing for Liberia in the throes of civil war, King George, as he is fondly called, single-handedly picked up the bills of the national football team and almost led them to the 2002 World Cup – they were beaten to the ticket by Nigeria by one point.

If he becomes president, he will be winning more than the ‘World Cup’.

Since joining the political terrain in 2005, Weah has been told he cannot win mainly because of a lack of education.

He has tried to diffuse that contempt with a Business Administration degree from the DeVry University in 2011 and for good measure added a Masters degree in Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management in 2013.

Weah, known for his close control and lung-bursting runs on the football pitch, said just as he played football naturally, he believes he has been called to help the Liberian people.

“I feel I have been called to service,” Weah told the BBC.

“For the love of my country and for the love of my people I want to become president of what I have already done to change my people’s lives and by being president I feel can do more.
“I have come from slums, roaming around the streets of Monrovia [Liberia’s capital]. I made a mark.”

He told the Voice of America in 2011 that education alone should not be the caveat for leadership. “There are lots people that went into leadership and they don’t even have a college degree.

“But because people believe in them, they show good leadership skills. So, it’s left with the Liberian people [to determine] whether, because I have a college degree, I can be leader of that country.

“But, I know that I am a good leader, and I am waiting for the opportunity to one day lead that country,” Weah added.

Football can be a powerful political tool. If anyone cares to disagree then just point him or her in the direction of West Africa, particularly Liberia, where Weah has almost dribbled his way into government house.


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  • Commissioner for Happiness

    Congrats Mr Weah,Owelle Rochas the restoration governor will be erecting a statue for you very soon,please remember the happiness and marital fulfilment of Liberians is key to your success as President,for more advice please don’t hesitate to contact the restoration governor

  • Ike Masha

    Politics is not about educational qualifications. If it were so,Nigeria will be up there. It’s about genuine will to serve. Mr. George Manneh Weah has seen the world outside of Africa, has the honest will to serve and to help move his Country forward. He didn’t contest for President so he could rob Liberia. Congratulations George.

    • Bassey Frank

      The “honest will” began with making up for his educational deficiency. He knew it was a big minus and he went head on to acquire educational qualifications. Politics has a lot to do with educational qualifications. Tell me a nation led by semi-literate that is running smoothly.

      • Ike Masha

        Bassey, please tell the World how education qualification/s has advanced Nigeria economical and politically. Politics is about people not qualifications.
        Africans make it a requirement so as to disenfranchise 90% of our people from participation. I am very pleased to learn that George improved himself educationally.
        Find me a Chief Abebe in today’s Nigeria. I don’t know where in the World you live but I can bet you’re in Nigeria. The same penchant for qualification is why we can never have an efficient Police Department in Nigeria. A graduate is recruited into the Police in Nigeria, six months at the Police College and he/she is an ASP. Where in the world do such happen? Tell me what this graducate knows about Police and its functionalities
        Democracy, Politics, Government/Governance don’t come better anywhere than in the United Kingdom.
        PLEASE ENTER – SIR JOHN MAJOR.
        Sir John Roy Major, KG, CH a British politician who was Prime Minister of the United
        Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. He served as Foreign Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Parliamentary Private Secretary, Assistant Whip, a Minister for Social Security. He was Chief Secretary to the Treasury at a time.
        He presided over British participation in the Gulf War and negotiated the Maastricht Treaty.

        “Professor” Bassy, HOW MANY DEGREES HAS SIR JOHN MAJOR GOT?

        • Bassey Frank

          I thought you would go beyond John Major whose service exposure prepared him for the job of PM. Assuming John Major is an exception, which you cleverly omitted, tell me how poor education has helped German’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May or any of the G-7/G-8 countries of the world. Mention one economically advanced nation that is governed by a semi-literate – if education does not count. Rwanda is going to become Africa’s Japan very soon because it is thriving on knowledge economy (ICT). Kenya is silently overtaking Nigeria because the country is getting more and more organized; so is Ethiopia. Ghana, our next-door neighbour is waxing strong; Egypt is Africa’s No. 3 economy (after Nigeria and South Africa); the country is making rapid progress. Look at Nigeria and South Africa where educationally-deficient leadership is plaguing them. Can you see the difference? Peter Obi, former Anambra governor, re-positioned the state on a solid ground – economically, educationally, socially … Compare Anambra with Imo State governed by advanced-diploma holder. Can you see the difference? The point I am making is that, notwithstanding the shortcomings we have in ‘educated’ leaders; the world is moving away from Physically strong leadership to Intellectually strong leadership. Education exposes you to world views and give you broad understanding of issues. Why did OBJ, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, late Sam Mbakwe of Imo State, return to school? Look at the Board appointments just approved by our President. Can you imagine that such a list will contain names of dead persons; how can we justify the names of people appearing in several appointments? Yes, PMB did not compile the list, he ought to ensure accuracy of the publication. Because his aids know his limitations, anything goes. Please, do not give your children the impression that they can assume leadership position, citing John Major and Buhari as examples. Otherwise, they will be consigned to the dustbin of irrelevance which is ready to accommodate bunches of this brand. This has nothing to do with being “Professior Ike Masha”.

  • Bassey Frank

    Brilliant chap. He was already famous, but realized he was educationally deficient, he went for it – a Barchelor’s and a Master’s Degrees. That is the way to go. In Nigeria, he will depend on his tribe and blood of impunity and claim credentials he does not have.

    • Julius

      What have you done for Nigeria with your Phd in everything ?..Abeg, list your contributions to the country, if any at all. I dey wait. The man you folks love to call an illiterate fought in a war for the country and rose to be a General in his chosen profession…the army. Any-way sha, abeg, post your contribution(s). Running your mouth, being abusive and name calling on the internet is not a contribution..I just thought I should help you before you mentioned that as an accomplishment and contributions. Da hell !

      • Bassey Frank

        Please don’t dabble into what is above you. Can you mention one nation that has made progress with educationally deficient leadership. Stop celebrating your ineptitude. If there is nothing in education, why did George Weah go in for it? Don’t use your standard for our standard, please.

        • Julius

          Who said there is nothing in education? By the way, you didn’t list your contributions. You wanna try again?

          • Bassey Frank

            You cannot understand what you do not KNOW. I am not surprised. Don’t use them as role model for your children and your concubine’s children. On no account will Nigeria be saddled with a dumbie again.

          • Julius

            You are obviously missing the point or should I say don’t ‘understand’…list your contribution to the system since you can run the country better than everybody else. Fake ranting online is not a contribution to the society…come again or stop blabbing .

    • man

      then anyone can get it too. is he still smart??? weah was criticised for not having degrees.

  • T-Rex

    I pray he leads Liberia to prosperity and total reconciliation. Congratulations George Manneh Opong Weah,President-Elect of Liberia.