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George Opong Weah: From Sports To Liberia’s President

Abdur Rahman Odoi Anum Pobee

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This past Tuesday marked a year of George Opong Weah in Liberia’s presidency. It is imperative that we dedicate this write up to the only native African player ever to be named FIFA World Player of the Year. A man described by FIFA as “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today” and was in 2004, included by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players. Many people of this generation may not have witnessed this rare talent that came from Africa to dominate world football, however, the aroma of his skill, athleticism and goal coring prowess are still savoured and longed for till date.

Beginning his football career at the age of 15 playing for Young Survivors youth club, Weah, after a brief stint as switchboard technician for Liberia Telecommunications Corporation, took his football career abroad. Abroad, Weah first played for Cameroonian club Tonnerre Yaoundé. It was here that his abilities were first discovered by the then Cameroon national team coach, Claude Le Roy, who recommended him to Arsene Wenger, who was the manager of Monaco and happened to fly into Cameroon to complete Weah’s signing. 

The role played by Arsene Wenger for George Weah cannot be understated; little wonder Weah has always dedicated his life achievements in football and beyond to Wenger. It was under Wenger that the hitherto raw talent became a force. Weah won the African Footballer of the Year for the first time in 1989; his first major award which he took back home for the entire country to celebrate. In 1991, he helped Monaco to win Coupe de France and reach the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1992. 

Weah later left Monaco for Paris Saint-Germain, a club he helped to win the Coupe de France in 1993 and 1995, the French league in 1994, and the Coupe de la Ligue in 1995. He also became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. Worthy to note is his skilful individual “wonder-goal” against Bayern Munich in the group stage. For all his exploits, he was rewarded with the African Footballer of the Year Award for the second time in his career in 1994. 

His story cannot be completely and well-written without talking of his time at AC Milan, who were less successful in Europe around the time Weah joined. With AC Milan, Weah was able to win two Serie A titles and was notable for scoring goals, in particular a solo goal against Hellas Verona at the San Siro. In 1995, Weah received several individual awards: Ballon d’Or, the Onze d’Or, African Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year, for performances at PSG and Milan. He was also named to the Onze de Onze by the French football magazine Onze Mondial. In 1996, he received FIFA Fair Play Award, and was voted the African Player of the Century by sport journalists from around the world. 

Weah later left AC Milan first as a loanee to Chelsea, where he helped them win the FA Cup; at the end of it, he joined Manchester City. Following his time in England, Weah went back to France and had a spell at Marseille. He later played with Al-Jazira in the UAE Pro-League, where he remained until he retired in 2003, at age 37.

As an international, Weah represented Liberia but failed to lead them to World Cup, the most notable dent to his outstanding career. 

Now retired, Weah, the football legend has gone on to create great record for himself by becoming the President of Liberia after initially serving as a senator for Montserrado County in the 2014 elections. The feat of becoming the president of his country was the first of its kind in the football world. Weah, known for breaking the bars, remains a source of encouragement for African footballers who came after him. If not for him, many African footballers may never think that with great efforts and concentration, impossibility can be made possible in the football world. Weah has done it, others can do it too, that is the message.By NenyeREPORT

Your best friend ever. If you want to be successful in this life and the hereafter; prioritize Allah and live a moral life. Remember that there's grace in disgrace so don't be disgruntled...!

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PHOTOS: Patrick Twumasi trains with new Club

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Patrick Twumasi trained for the first time with Turkish Club Gazişehir FK after completing a loan move from Spanish side Deportivo Alaves.

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VIDEO: Hearts of Oak players cast vote for FIFA World 11

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Players of Hearts of Oak got involved in the selection of the FIFA World 11 by casting their votes through the Professionals of Association of Ghana (PFAG)

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Europa League: Caleb Ekuban inspires Trabzonspor fightback against Sparta Prague

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Ghana international striker Caleb Ekuban netted and assisted a goal for Trabzonspor in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening at the Generali Arena.

The 25-year-old pulled one back for the Turkish Super Lig side with a fine strike in the 84th minute after Czech Republican Sparta had taken a 2-0 lead.

The 2019 AFCON Ghana forward unleashed a first-time shot from inside the box and beat the goalkeeper into the bottom right corner to halve the deficit for his side.

Former Ghana U17 forward Benjamin Tetteh started upfront for Sparta Prague in the game but he was booked on the 55th minute mark and replaced 10 minutes before the end of the game.

Benjamin Tetteh, behind, lasted 80 minutes for Sparta Prague
Benjamin Tetteh, behind, lasted 80 minutes for Sparta Prague

Ekuban then assisted Norwegian Alexander Sorloth to level the scoring for the visitors.

Ekuban missed Ghana’s penalty kick at the continental showpiece that resulted in the Black Stars’s exit from the tournament.

By El Akyereko

Follow the writer on Twitter: @Akwasiakyereko

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