George Weah congratulates President-elect Boakai

* May his presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership

* Let us also recognize that the true winners of these elections are the people of Liberia

Maravi Express

George Manneh Oppong Weah, the first African football player who was elected as President of Liberia, has congratulated Joseph N. Boakai as President-elect long before the country’s national election results were announced yesterday.


Weah, the only African football player to win the Ballon d’Or, has offered Boakai his “sincere commitment to working with him for the betterment of Liberia”.

“May his presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership,” he said. “Tonight, as we acknowledge the results, let us also recognize that the true winners of these elections are the people of Liberia.

“Through your peaceful and orderly exercise of your constitutional right to vote, you have once again demonstrated your  commitment to the democratic principles that bind us together as a nation.

“Under my leadership, these elections were organized with a promise to the Liberian people – a promise of fairness, transparency, and credibility. I am proud to say that, for the most part, we have fulfilled that promise. The Liberian people have spoken, and their choice will be honored and obeyed.”

Weah has took over the presidency in 2018. He first ran for election in 2005 but lost the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first African woman president and in 2011, he ran unsuccessfully for vice-president alongside Winston Tubman.

He was subsequently elected to the Senate of Liberia for Montserrado County in the 2014 election before winning the presidency in 2017 after beating the same Joseph Boakai — then the incumbent vice president.

He came into the job on a wave of enthusiasm, especially from younger voters, having won that election — also against Boakai — by a large margin. But a perception that he had failed to tackle corruption, rising prices and continued economic difficulties tarnished his image.


Born on October 1, in Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, and was raised in Clara Town, a slum in the city, Weah is a member of the Kru ethnic group, which hail from south-eastern Liberia’s Grand Kau 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 merchant and he has three brothers, William, Moses and Wolo.

He was one of 13 children largely raised by his devoutly Christian paternal grandmother, Emma Klonjlaleh Brown, after his parents separated when Weah 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.

He played as a striker in his prolific 18-year professional football career, which ended in 2003 to go on and became the first African former professional footballer to become a head of state.

After beginning his career in Liberia, Weah spent 14 years playing for clubs in France, Italy and England after he was first brought to Europe by Arsene Wenger signing him for Monaco in 1988.

He moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where they won Division 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994-95 UEFA Champions League before signing for Ac Milan  in 1995 where he spent four successful seasons, winning the Serie A twice.

He moved to the Premier League in England 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.

One of the best players to Grace the European football, Weah never to win the UEFA Champions League and ended his career with Al Jazira in 2003.

Weah represented Liberia at the international level, winning 75 caps and scoring 18 goals for his country and playing at the Africa Cup of Nations on two occasions before playing in a friendly in 2018, where his number 14 jersey was retired.

Regarded as one of the best players never to have played at the FIFA World Cup, Scott Murray in The Guardian referred to Weah as “hamstrung by hailing from a global minnow”.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, Weah was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and only player to win these awards while representing an African country internationally.

In 1989 and 1995, he was also named the African Footballer of the Year winning the official award twice, 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 “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today”.

In 2004, he was named by the great Pele in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players and following his retirement he joined by forming the Congress for Democratic Change.—Reporting by Moses Kollie Garzeawu, BBC News, Monrovia & Maravi Express