George Weah is a Liberian former professional footballer who played for several European clubs, as well as the Liberian National football team.
Often regarded as one of the world’s best football players, he played as a striker in his prolific 18-year professional career, which ended in 2003. He is the first African former professional footballer to become a head of state.
After beginning his career in his home country of Liberia, Weah spent 14 years playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England. Arsène Wenger first brought him to Europe, signing him for Monaco in 1988. George Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where he won the Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. He signed for AC Milan in 1995 where he spent four successful seasons, winning Serie A twice.
GEORGE WEAH: EARLY LIFE AND BEGINNINGS
George Weah was born and raised in the Clara Town district of Monrovia, Liberia. He is a member of the Kru ethnic group, which hail from south-eastern Liberia’s Grand Kru County, one of the poorest areas of the country. His father, William T. Weah, Sr., was a mechanic[while his mother, Anna Quayeweah who died in 2013, was a seller.
He has three brothers, William, Moses and Wolo. He was one of thirteen children largely raised by his devoutly Christian paternal grandmother, Emma Klonjlaleh Brown after his parents separated when George was still a baby. He attended middle school at Muslim Congress and high school at Wells Hairston High School, and reportedly dropped out in his final year of studies.
George Weah began to play football for the Young Survivors youth club at the age of 15 and later moved to other local football clubs, assuming starring roles for Mighty Barrolle and Invicible Eleven. Before his football career allowed him to move abroad, Weah worked for the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation as a switchboard technician.
George Weah moved to the Premier League towards the end of his career and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, winning the FA Cup at the former, before returning to France to play for Marseille in 2001. He ended his career with Al-Jazira in 2003. FourFourTwo, a sports media outfit, named Weah one of the best players never to win the UEFA Champions League.
At international level, George Weah represented his home country of Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions, winning 75 caps and scoring 18 goals for his country.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, George Weah was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and to date only African player to win these awards. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was also named the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century.
George Weah, known for his acceleration, speed, and dribbling ability, in addition to his goal-scoring and finishing, was described by FIFA as “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today”. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
GEORGE WEAH: POLITICS AND HUMANITARIANISM
George Weah became involved in politics in Liberia following his retirement from football. He formed the Congress for Democratic Change and ran unsuccessfully for President in 2005, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. He was subsequently elected to the Liberian Senate for Montserrado County in the 2014 elections. George Weah was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 election, defeating the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai. He was sworn in on 22 January 2018.
George Weah is a devoted humanitarian for his war-torn country. During his playing career he became a UN Goodwill Ambassador. At the 2004 ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, Weah won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts. He has also been named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a role which he has suspended in his political career. Off the football pitch, he stood out throughout his career for his initiatives to fight against racism in the game.
By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi
Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.