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Former world footballer, George Weah becomes Liberia’s president-elect

 

Football icon, George Weah has emerged as the newly elected president of Liberia to succeed Elen Johnson Sirleaf.

The 51-year-old defeated his closest rival, Joseph Boakai who is also the incumbent Vice President.

Others include longtime opposition figure Charles Brumskine and former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings.

Weah is easily the most famous personality from the struggling West African country, and emerged victorious at the polls after a attempt to attain the highest office in his land, having been beaten in 2005 when he came second in the presidential election with just over 40 per cent of the vote.

Weah, who emerged the African, European and World Football of the Year in 1995 is certainly not the first sportsman to have made the transition to politician as Pelé and Zico have both served as Brazilian sports ministers but the Liberian is the first with such worldwide household recognition to become president of his country.

In the Faroe Islands, Kaj Leo Johannesen served as prime minister after his career as an international goalkeeper had ended. He won four caps and played in the qualifiers for both the European Championships in 2002 and the 1994 World Cup but, of course, has nothing of the legacy of Weah.

Weah, the only African to have won the prestigious Ballon d’Or individual award has been actively involved in Liberian politics, and for the last three years carried the title of senator after a one-sided win in lower house elections. He represents Montserrado County, where the country’s two largest football stadiums are situated.

The football icon was recently criticised by opposition for not sponsoring any bill.

“Senator Weah has been in office since 2014 and hasn’t proposed or sponsored any legislation,” says one of his strongest opponents, Alex Cummings, a former Coca-Cola executive who recently returned to the country.

“As a presidential candidate in 2005 and vice-presidential candidate in 2011, Mr Weah hasn’t so much but has set up a football academy in Liberia.”

 

 

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