George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman
Weah (born 1 October 1966 in Monrovia) is a
Liberian politician and former
football forward. He spent 14 years of his professional
football career playing for clubs in France, Italy, and
England, winning titles in two of the three
, he was named
FIFA World Player of the
Footballer of the Year
, and African Footballer of the
. Weah has since become a humanitarian and politician in
Liberia, and ran unsuccessfully in the 2005 Liberian presidential
, losing to Ellen
in the second round of voting. Weah is the only
FIFA World Player of the Year who failed to qualify for FIFA World Cup
with his national team.
Weah was born and raised in the Clara Town slum
He is a
member of the Kru ethnic group, which hails from
south-eastern Liberia's Grand Kru County, one of the poorest areas of the country.
His parents were William T. Weah, Sr. and Anna Quayeweah. He was
raised largely by his paternal grandmother, Emma Klonjlaleh Brown.
He attended middle school at Muslim Congress and high school at
Wells Hairston High School. Before his football career allowed him
to move abroad, Weah worked for the Liberia Telecommunications
Corporation as a switchboard
George Weah converted from Christianity
but later reverted back after having
spent ten years as a Muslim. He hopes for peace for Muslims and
Christians, and says they are "one people."
He is married to Clar Weah, a Jamaican who resides in America.
Weah is the father of four children: George Jr., Martha, Timothy
George, and Jessica, who was adopted from Jamaica.
son, George Weah Jr.
for the US
, with his close friend Freddy
. He is also good friends with Joshua Smith
. Weah Jr. played for the
AC Milan Primavera team
in the 2005-06
season. He was given a trial at Slavia
, but the club decided not to sign him.
At the pinnacle of success, Weah moved to Europe in 1988 when he
was signed by Arsène Wenger
manager of Monaco
, who Weah credits as
an important influence on his career. At Monaco, Weah was a member
of the team that won the French Cup in 1991. In the 1990s Weah
subsequently played for Paris Saint
(1992 - 95), with whom he won the French league in
1994; and AC Milan
(1995 - 1999), with
whom he won the Italian league in 1996 and 1999, and became the top
scorer of the UEFA
Champions League 1994–95
. In 1995 he was named European Footballer of the
and FIFA World
Player of the Year
. After leaving Milan in January 2000 Weah
moved to Chelsea, Manchester City and Olympique Marseille in quick succession,
before leaving Marseille in May 2001 for Al Jazira FC, in the United Arab
Weah's time in England was deemed a
success, especially at Chelsea where he instantly endeared himself
to their fans by scoring the winner against rivals Tottenham
Hotpsur on his debut, and scored further league goals against
Wimbledon and Liverpool. He also scored twice in Chelsea's
victorious 1999/2000 FA Cup campaign, netting crucial goals against
Leicester City and Gillingham. This led to him starting in the
, which Chelsea won 1-0. At
Manchester City he scored once in the league against Liverpool
again, and three times against Gillingham again, this time in the
League Cup, once in the first leg and twice in the second.
As successful as he was at club level, Weah was not able to bring
over that success to the Liberian national team
has done everything with the squad from playing to coaching to
financing it, but failed to qualify for a single World Cup
, falling just a point short in
for the 2002 tournament
has all led to Weah being known as one of the best footballers
never to have played in a World Cup.
World Best Player 1995
Weah was named world best for 1995, becoming the only African
player to win the award. He was the fifth recipient of the award.
The Silver trophy was won by Paolo
, and the Bronze by Jürgen Klinsmann
. The other four
recipients were: Lothar Matthaus
'91, Marco Van Basten
'92, Roberto Baggio
'93, and Romario
in '94. Weah also won the silver trophy the
following year which was won by Brazilian striker Ronaldo
. Alan Shearer
was awarded the Bronze.
African Player of the Year 1989, 1994 and 1995
Weah won the African player of the year in 1989 when he was with AS
Monaco and 1995 with AC Milan. That year he won almost every award
a footballer could win. When he won the award in 1989, it was his
first major award and he took it back home for the entire country
to celebrate, similar to what he did when he won the world best
title and the Onze Mondial title.
European Player of the Year 1995
Weah won the European Player of the Year in 1995, becoming the only
African to win the award. Sports writers from all over Europe voted
and awarded Weah as the best player in Europe for the year.
Onze Mondial 1995
- The French Magazine name Weah as the top player in Europe for
- Fifa Fair Play Award 1996
African Player of the Century
Weah was voted the African player of the Century by sport
journalists from all around the world. This award puts Weah in the
company of some of the greatest players to have ever played the
game. Pelé won the same award as the South American player of the
Century and Johan Cruijff
European player of the century.
Weah was banned from six European matches for breaking the nose of
the Portuguese defender Jorge Costa
November 20, 1996 in the players' tunnel after AC Milan's draw at
. Weah said he exploded in
frustration after putting up with racist tauntings from Costa
during both of the teams' matches that autumn in the Champions
League. Costa, who underwent facial surgery and was sidelined for
three weeks, has avoided punishment by the UEFA
.Despite the incident Weah still received the
FIFA Fair Play Award in 1996.
Weah is a devoted humanitarian
war-torn country. At the 2004 ESPY
, he won the Arthur
Ashe Courage Award
for his efforts. Weah was named by Pelé
as one of the top 125
greatest living footballers
in March 2004. He has also been
named a UNICEF Goodwill
, a role which he has suspended while he pursues a
Football and children
tried to use football as a way to bring happiness and promote
education for children in Liberia.
1998, Weah launched a CD called Lively
featuring the singer Frisbie Omo Isibor
and eight other
African football stars. The proceeds from this CD went to
children's programmes in the countries of origin of the athletes
President of the Junior Professionals, a football team he founded
in Monrovia in
As a way to encourage young people to remain in
school, the club's only requirement for membership is school
attendance. Many of the young people, recruited from all
over Liberia, have gone
on to play for the Liberian national team.
In 1998 a documentary about Weah's footballing career at AC Milan
was made broadcast on The A - Force BBC-TV
was made by Pogus Caesar
award winning producer and director.
he had denied interest in politics during his football career, in
mid-November 2004, Weah announced his intention to stand in the
October 2005 presidential
election, having previously been the subject of a petition
urging him to run; he received a hero's welcome upon his arrival in
Monrovia in late November and was widely considered a
favorite in the election. His eligibility was initially questioned
due to debates over his citizenship (Weah having allegedly adopted
French citizenship whilst at PSG; he has also lived in Staten Island, New
York for many years now) but he was officially confirmed
on 13 August 2005 as the candidate for the Congress for Democratic
Change when the election commission published its final
Weah's lack of experience and of a prestigious college degree
weighed heavily against him during the campaign. Opponents believed
that Weah could have been manipulated if elected. His supporters
argued that Weah's lack of experience was balanced by his lack of
involvement in the Liberian Civil
. Some saw little risk in Weah becoming corrupt
considering his wealth from
During his campaign Weah repeatedly emphasized the need for the
United Nations peacekeeping
mission in his country, known as
, to stay through the end of what would
have been his first presidential term of office. Weah had also
promised to bring low cost housing, electricity, running water, and
better education to the countryside, where he himself lived for
some time in the 1970s. He also called for the president's term in
office to be reduced to four years from six.
Weah won a plurality in the first ballot on 11 October
, but did not secure the required
overall majority. A run-off vote took place on 8 November
, pitting Weah against former World
Bank employee and finance minister, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
, who won the
vote to become the first elected female president in Africa. Weah
disputed the electoral process, but on 21 December 2005 he dropped
his legal challenge.
his defeat in the 2005 election, Weah returned to school, earning a
high school diploma in the United States before entering an unidentified Florida university in 2007.
Some analysts see the
move as preparation for a repeat run for the presidency in 2011.
remains active in Liberian politics, returning from the United
States in 2009 to campaign for the Congress for Democratic Change
candidate in the Montserrado County senatorial by-election.