Liberians Celebrate Youthful President, George Manneh Weah’s Birthday – A Profile
Hundreds of Liberians including partisans of the ruling CDC-led government, and well-wishers have trooped to the residence of their President, George Manneh Gbehkugbeh Forky Klon Jlaleh Weah to join him in the celebration of his 55th birth anniversary.
Born 1 October 1966 in Monrovia’s slum community, the Gebrata is the 25th President of Liberia after being elected President of Liberia in the 2017 defeating the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai, and was sworn in on 22 January 2018.
Prior to his election to the presidency, Weah served as Senator of Montserrado County, after winning several awards including African, European and World’s best football players, he played as a striker in his prolific 18-year professional career, which ended in 2003. He was declared as the first African former professional footballer to become president of his home country, Liberia.
He formed the Congress for Democratic Change and ran unsuccessfully for President in the 2005 election, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In the 2011 election, he ran unsuccessfully for Vice President alongside Winston Tubman. Weah was subsequently elected to the Liberian Senate for Montserrado County in the 2014 elections.
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. Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where he won 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. He 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.
At international level, Weah represented Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions, winning 75 caps and scoring 18 goals for his country. He played an international friendly in 2018 where his number 14 jersey was retired. Regarded as one of the best players never to have played at the World Cup, Scott Murray in The Guardian writes Weah was “hamstrung by hailing from a global minnow”.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, he 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.
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. Weah became involved in politics in Liberia following his retirement from football.
In 2013, the Liberian Leader earned a master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University, United States of America. In 2011, Dr. George Manneh Weah earned a Bachelor Degree (BA) in Business Administration from the DeVry University in Miami, Florida (United States of America).
He began his early childhood education at the Daniel E. Howard and C. W. Brumskine Elementary schools. President Weah later attended G. W. Gibson and Ellen Mills Scarborough for his junior high education. In pursuit of secondary school education, President Weah attended Muslim Congress and Wells Hairston High Schools. He obtained high school diploma from the Continental Academy in the United States on September 21, 2007.
The Liberian Leader has three honorary Doctorate Degrees of Humane Letters (LHD). The Honoris Causa are in recognition of President Weah’s accomplishments and contributions in many fields, including humanity, sports, peacebuilding and education.
They were conferred on him by the AME Zion University (June 22, 1997), Cuttington University (June 29, 2018) and University of Liberia (December 12, 2018).
He is happily married to Madam Clar Duncan Weah, three children including Timothy Weah, George Weah Jr., and Tita Weah