This is a happy day, for George Weah is now president-elect of Liberia! Thinking about how long it took to get there, I am so proud of him. His consistency, his determination to serve Liberia at the highest office, and his love for his country are commendable. As a flashback, remember the Liberian presidential elections of 2005, when he had gone through the second turn of the presidential elections, and amidst election frauds many believed that he had won the election in lieu of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. People told him that he was too young, he should let Mama run the country; that he was just a football (soccer) player, albeit a great one, but a baby in politics, an uneducated man, and should let those who knew it, run the country. After a month of deliberation, and a lot of strength and patriotism, Weah agreed to let Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf claim the victory. He could have said ‘NO’ and gone into protests which could have led Liberia into civil unrest, but he loved his country deeply, and chose peace! In subsequent years, he learned politics, learned how to serve the people better, even unsuccessfully ran as a VP candidate in the 2011 presidential elections, became a Senator of Montserrado County in 2014, and got a graduate degree. Today, he has won the presidential elections. Talk about perseverance, love, and determination!
George Weah developed great football abilities early on, and after playing in the Liberian football domestic league at the beginning of his successful career, and winning several national honors (including the Liberian Premier League and the Liberian Cup), Weah went on to play in the Tonnerre of Yaoundé (one of the greatest football clubs of Cameroon) in Cameroon where he was discovered, and then took off for a very successful career in Europe. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, and in 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and only African player to date to win these awards. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was named the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century. Known for his acceleration, speed, and dribbling ability, in addition to his goalscoring and finishing, Weah 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.
As you can see, it took him over 12 years from those failed elections of 2005, but he made it. He successfully went from an outstanding football player to the president of a nation. His story is that of perseverance, and particularly of excellence: Do what you are called for, whatever it is, with excellence, … you never know you could be called for greatness through that excellence! We salute his uncompromising, unflinching courage and determination, and we are happy for Liberia!