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.
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.
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.
right now, the 51-year-old has the opportunity to score political goals 14
years after retiring from scoring football goals!
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.
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.
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).
now, Weah has won more than the Ballon d’ Or in his native Liberia as he has
been elected the president.
will become the first ever world footballer of the year to become president of
Indications from Monrovia by external observers have said the polls were
largely free and fair.
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.
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.
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.
he becomes president, he will be winning more than the ‘World Cup’.
joining the political terrain in 2005, Weah has been told he cannot win mainly
because of a lack of education.
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.
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.
feel I have been called to service,” Weah told the BBC.
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.”
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.
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.
I know that I am a good leader, and I am waiting for the opportunity to one day
lead that country,” Weah added.
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.