Liberian international soccer star-turned-politician George Weah said he will make a second bid for the presidency of his country in the upcoming elections.
Thousands of his supporters gathered around him at his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) headquarters in Monrovia, capital of Liberia, as he made the expected announcement. Chorus of “You can have the whole world but give me Weah” rent the air as he peppered his talk with a promise of upcoming change in the country’s leadership.
The 49-year-old Weah said, “Having heard the cry of our people and seen their plight, I declare before you my countrymen and the Almighty God that I shall contest the presidency of our beloved country in the 2017 national elections.”
The international footballer-turned-politician had a famed career in Europe spanning nearly a decade and a half that saw him play for top teams such as Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Marseilles in France, AC Milan in Italy and English sides Manchester City and Chelsea.
A striker widely considered one of the best players from Africa won the1995 European football’s Ballon d’Or and was named FIFA’s World Player of the Year, becoming the first African to win the awards.
He contested the 2005 presidential elections in Liberia but lost in second-round run-off to current president and Nobel Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In 2011, he ran for vice-president on the losing ticket of Winston Tubman. In 2014, he won a seat in the Senate, when he defeated President Sirleaf’s son, Robert.
Weah has not wavered as a vocal critic of Sirleaf and his CDC has become country’s leading opposition party.
As a priority, he said he would fix the education system, build new clinics and hospitals, revive agriculture, and combat youth unemployment if elected.