George Weah

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George Weah
George Weah.jpg
Weah at A.C. Milan holding the Ballon d'Or in 1995
Personal information
Full nameGeorge Tawlon Manneh
Oppong Ousman Weah
Date of birth(1966-10-01) 1 October 1966 (age 47)
Place of birthMonrovia, Liberia
Height1.84 m (6 ft 12 in)
Playing positionStriker
Youth career
1981–1984Young Survivors Clareton
1984–1985Bongrange Company
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1985–1986Mighty Barrolle10(7)
1986–1987Invincible Eleven23(24)
1987Africa Sports2(1)
1987–1988Tonnerre Yaoundé18(14)
1988–1992Monaco103(47)
1992–1995Paris Saint-Germain96(32)
1995–2000Milan114(46)
2000Chelsea (loan)11(3)
2000Manchester City7(1)
2000–2001Marseille19(5)
2001–2003Al-Jazira8(13)
Total411(193)
National team
1987–2007Liberia60(22)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
 
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George Weah
George Weah.jpg
Weah at A.C. Milan holding the Ballon d'Or in 1995
Personal information
Full nameGeorge Tawlon Manneh
Oppong Ousman Weah
Date of birth(1966-10-01) 1 October 1966 (age 47)
Place of birthMonrovia, Liberia
Height1.84 m (6 ft 12 in)
Playing positionStriker
Youth career
1981–1984Young Survivors Clareton
1984–1985Bongrange Company
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1985–1986Mighty Barrolle10(7)
1986–1987Invincible Eleven23(24)
1987Africa Sports2(1)
1987–1988Tonnerre Yaoundé18(14)
1988–1992Monaco103(47)
1992–1995Paris Saint-Germain96(32)
1995–2000Milan114(46)
2000Chelsea (loan)11(3)
2000Manchester City7(1)
2000–2001Marseille19(5)
2001–2003Al-Jazira8(13)
Total411(193)
National team
1987–2007Liberia60(22)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah (born 1 October 1966)[1] is a Liberian humanitarian, politician, and an ex-footballer who played as a striker. 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. Three times he won African Footballer of the Year. In 2004, he was named one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA's 100th anniversary celebration.[2]

Weah spent fourteen years of his professional football career playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England. Arsène Wenger brought him to Europe when he signed 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 UEFA Champions League 1994–95. He signed for A.C. Milan in 1995 where he spent four very successful seasons, scored some spectacular goals (the most notable being running the length of the field against Verona), and won Serie A twice. He then moved to England and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City.

Weah has been heavily involved in politics in his homeland Liberia. He 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 for vice president on Winston Tubman's ticket.

Football career[edit]

Weah was a real surprise. I have never seen any player explode on to the scene like he did.

Arsène Wenger[3]

Weah moved to Europe in 1988 when he was signed by Arsène Wenger,[4] the manager of Monaco, whom Weah credits as an important influence on his career.[5] 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 Germain (1992–95), with whom he won the French league in 1994 and became the top scorer of the UEFA Champions League 1994–95; and AC Milan (1995–1999), with whom he won the Italian league in 1996 and 1999. In 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year.[3] Weah also became famous at Milan for scoring a wonder goal against Verona at the San Siro.[3] 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 Emirates, where he remained until his retirement as a player in 2003.[3]

As successful as he was at club level, Weah was not able to bring over that success to the Liberian national team. He 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 qualifying for the 2002 tournament.

FIFA World Player of the Year 1995[edit]

Weah was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, becoming the only African player to win the award.[3] He was the fifth recipient of the award. The Silver trophy was won by Paolo Maldini, and the Bronze by Jürgen Klinsmann.

African Player of the Year 1989, 1994 and 1995[edit]

Weah won the African Footballer of the Year in 1989 when he was with AS Monaco, 1994 when he was at Paris Saint Germain, and 1995 with AC Milan.[3] 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[edit]

Weah won the Ballon d'Or (European Player of the Year) in 1995, becoming the only African to win the award.[3] Sports writers from all over Europe voted and awarded Weah as the best player in Europe for the year. When he won the World player of the year he dedicated it to his manager Arsene Wenger who made him a world class player.

Onze Mondial 1995[edit]

African Player of the Century[edit]

Weah was voted the African Player of the Century by sport journalists from all around the world.[3] Pelé won the same award as the South American Player of the Century and Johan Cruyff as the European Player of the Century.

Controversy[edit]

Weah was banned from six European matches for breaking the nose of the Portuguese defender Jorge Costa on 20 November 1996 in the players' tunnel after AC Milan's draw at FC Porto. Weah said he exploded in frustration after putting up with racist tauntings from Jorge Costa during both of the teams' matches that autumn in the Champions League. Costa strenuously denied the accusations of racism and was not charged by UEFA as no witnesses could verify Weah's allegations, not even his Milan team mates. Weah later attempted to apologise to Costa but this was rebuffed by the Portuguese, who considered the charges of racist insults levelled against him to be defamatory and took the Liberian to court.[6] The incident led to him undergoing facial surgery and he was subsequently sidelined for three weeks. Despite the incident Weah still received the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1996.[7]

Spell in England[edit]

Weah signed for Chelsea on loan from Milan on 11 January 2000, in a deal which would keep him with the West London club until the end of the 1999–2000 English season.[8]

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 Hotspur on his debut,[9] and scored further league goals against Wimbledon[10] and Liverpool.[11] He also scored twice in Chelsea's victorious 1999–2000 FA Cup campaign, netting crucial goals against Leicester City[12] and Gillingham.[13] This led to him starting in the final, which Chelsea won 1–0.

Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli did not make Weah's move permanent, and on 1 August 2000 he signed for newly promoted English Premier League side Manchester City on a free transfer on a two-year contract worth £30,000 a week,[14] declining the offer of a £1 million pay-off from Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi.[15] He played 11 games in all competitions for City, scoring four times, before leaving on 16 October 2000 after becoming dissatisfied with manager Joe Royle for selecting him as a substitute too frequently; he had only played the full 90 minutes in three of his 11 games for the Maine Road club.[16] At City he scored once in the league against Liverpool (as he did at Chelsea),[17] and three times against Gillingham (again as he had at Chelsea), this time in the League Cup; once in the first leg[18] and twice in the second.[19]

Later career[edit]

Weah had spells at Marseille and Al-Jazira before retiring in 2003, aged 37.[3]

International career[edit]

Weah played 60 games for Liberia over 20 years, scoring 22 goals. He has been the team's star player, a coach and to a large extent, funded the team.

Humanitarianism[edit]

Weah is a devoted humanitarian for his war-torn country. At the 2004 ESPY Awards, he won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts.[20] 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 Ambassador, a role which he has suspended while he pursues a political career.

Football and children[edit]

Weah has tried to use football as a way to bring happiness and promote education for children in Liberia. In 1998, Weah launched a CD called Lively Up Africa 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 involved.

Weah was President of the Junior Professionals, a football team he founded in Monrovia in 1994. The team is now defunct. 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, it was made by Pogus Caesar a British award winning producer and director.

Personal life[edit]

George Weah was born and raised in the Clara Town slum of Monrovia. 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 technician.

He has four children. George Weah Jr, Tita, Timothy and one adopted son from Lebanon – Samer Hodroj. Timothy was born in the year 2000 and has trained with the USMNT U-14 squads. Timothy is determined to follow in his father's footsteps and he was given the opportunity to train with Chelsea's youth academy.[21]

His cousin Christopher Wreh was also a professional footballer, most notably for Arsenal FC.

George Weah converted from Christianity to Islam before converting back. He hopes for peace for Muslims and Christians, and says they are "one people."[22]

Political career[edit]

Following the end of Second Liberian Civil War, Weah announced his intention to run for President of Liberia in the 2005 elections, forming the Congress for Democratic Change to back his candidacy. While Weah was a popular figure in Liberia, opponents cited his lack of formal education as a handicap to his ability to lead the country, in contrast with his Harvard-educated opponent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Analysts also noted Weah's lack of experience, calling him a "babe-in-the-woods", while Sirleaf had served as Minister of Finance in the Tolbert administration in the 1970s and had held positions at Citibank, the World Bank and the United Nations.[23] Weah's eligibility to run for Presidency was also called into question as it was reported that he had become a French citizen in his footballing career at Paris St. Germain, but these complaints were rebuffed by the electoral commission in court and Weah was allowed to proceed.

Weah obtained a plurality of votes in the first round of voting on 11 October, garnering 28.3% of the vote. This qualified him to compete in a run-off election against Sirleaf, the second placed candidate. However, he lost the run-off to Sirleaf on 8 November, garnering only 40.6% to 59.4% for Sirleaf. Weah alleged that the election had been rigged through voter intimidation and ballot tampering, and many of his supporters protested the results in the streets of Monrovia. However, after assurances that the vote was fair several prominent African leaders called on Weah's supporters to accept the result with grace and dignity, and Sirleaf became President. The African Union had characterized the elections as "peaceful, transparent, and fair".[24]

Weah's lack of education became a campaign issue. He has been highly critical of those who say he is not fit to govern: "With all their education and experience, they have governed this nation for hundreds of years. They have never done anything for the nation." He initially claimed to have a BA degree in Sports Management from Parkwood University in London. However this is an unaccredited diploma mill which awards certificates without requiring study.[25] Weah then pursued a degree in business administration at DeVry University in Miami.[26][27]

Weah also remained active in Liberian politics, returning from the United States in 2009 to successfully campaign for the Congress for Democratic Change candidate in the Montserrado County senatorial by-election.[28] Some analysts saw these moves as preparation for a repeat run for the Presidency in 2011,[29] and Weah did indeed later announce his intention to challenge Sirleaf in the 2011 election.[30] After a series of failed alliances with other opposition parties, the Congress for Democratic Change chose Weah as its 2011 vice presidential candidate, running with presidential candidate Winston Tubman.[31]

Career statistics[edit]

In Europe[edit]

[32]

[33]

ClubSeasonLeagueCupLeague CupSuper CupEuropeTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Monaco1988–892314101----523817
1989–90175------73248
1990–91291065----534018
1991–92341841----944723
PSG1992–93301462----974523
1993–94321132----514014
1994–953475231--1185318
Milan1995–96261131--10633615
1996–97281320----533516
1997–98241083------3213
1998–9926841------309
1999–0010420--1011145
Chelsea1999-0011342------155
Manchester City2000–0171--23----94
Marseille2000–0119510------205
Total350134582054206335478193

International[edit]

National TeamYearAppsGoals
Liberia
198711
198821
198951
1990--
1991--
1992--
1993--
199421
199550
199661
199792
199830
199931
200071
2001113
200231
2003--
2004--
2005--
2006--
200710
Total6022

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Liberia's goal tally first.
#DateVenueOpponentScoreResultCompetition
1.1987-01-30National Complex, Monrovia Nigeria1–02–01987 West African Nations Cup
2.1988-08-21National Complex, Monrovia Ghana1–02–01990 World Cup qualifier
3.1989-06-11National Complex, Monrovia Malawi1–01–01990 World Cup qualifier
4.1994-09-04National Complex, Monrovia Togo1–01–01996 African Cup of Nations qualifier
5.1996-06-23Accra Sports Stadium, Accra Gambia2–04–01998 World Cup qualifier
6.1997-04-06Accra Sports Stadium, Accra Egypt1–01–01998 World Cup qualifier
7.1997-06-22National Complex, Monrovia DR Congo2–02–11998 African Cup of Nations qualifier
8.1999-06-20National Complex, Monrovia Tunisia2–02–02000 African Cup of Nations qualifier
9.2000-07-16National Complex, Monrovia Cape Verde1–03–02002 African Cup of Nations qualifier
10.2001-04-22National Complex, Monrovia Sudan2–02–02002 World Cup qualifier
11.2001-07-14National Stadium, Freetown Sierra Leone1–01–02002 World Cup qualifier
12.2001-08-23Estadio Luis de la Fuente, Veracruz Mexico1–24–5Friendly
13.2002-01-19Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako Mali1–01–12002 African Cup of Nations

Honours[edit]

Mighty Barrolle[edit]

Invincible Eleven[edit]

AS Monaco[edit]

Paris Saint-Germain[edit]

Milan[edit]

Chelsea[edit]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FIFA Magazine – An idol for African footballers". FIFA. Archived from the original on 19 July 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2006. 
  2. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Iconic Weah a true great". FIFA.com. Retrieved 17 November 2013
  4. ^ "George Weah in focus". bbc.co.uk (London). 25 July 2001. Retrieved 9 December 2006. [dead link]
  5. ^ "On The Spot: George Weah". Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2006. 
  6. ^ "Court postpones Weah trial". [1]. 28 February 2001. Retrieved 28 February 2001. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Weah's Ban Puts Soccer's Fairness Rule on the Line". IHT.com. Retrieved 19 June 2008. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Weah cleared for debut". BBC News. 12 January 2000. 
  9. ^ "Winner for Weah on debut". London: BBC. 12 January 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  10. ^ Ridley, Ian (12 February 2000). "Olsen's flying circus on downward spiral". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Weah gives Liverpool the Blues". London: BBC. 29 April 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  12. ^ Brodkin, Jon (30 January 2000). "Blues see red and yellow". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Thorpe, Martin (20 February 2000). "Chelsea bring Gills down to earth". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  14. ^ Rich, Tim (2 August 2000). "Weah joins Royle's revolution". The Independent (London). 
  15. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/m/man_city/887070.stm
  16. ^ Nixon, Alan (17 October 2000). "Weah's blue moon affair lasts 11 games". The Independent (London). 
  17. ^ "Hamann double sees off City". London: BBC. 9 September 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  18. ^ "Manchester City 1–1 Gillingham". London: BBC. 20 September 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  19. ^ "Gillingham 2–4 Man City (agg: 3–5)". London: BBC. 26 September 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  20. ^ "Weah selected for Arthur Ashe Courage Award". ESPN.com. Retrieved 25 April 2007. 
  21. ^ "Chelsea hand trial to George Weah's son". inside World Soccer. 30 March 2013. 
  22. ^ You quizzed George Weah – BBC.com
  23. ^ "Profile: George Weah". BBC News. 11 November 2005. 
  24. ^ "African leaders hail Liberia poll". BBC News. 13 November 2005. 
  25. ^ David Goldenberg (22 April 2005). "George Weah in Diploma-Mill Scandal". Gelf Magazine. 
  26. ^ Liberia's George Weah to Seek a College Degree. Voice of America. 19 June 2007. Accessed 30 November 2009
  27. ^ George Weah gets educated in quest for election. USA Today. 11 August 2010. Accessed 11 August 2010
  28. ^ Weah Confronted. Liberian Observer 25 November 2009. Accessed 30 November 2009
  29. ^ College-bound George Weah gave us something to talk about. The Liberian Dialogue 22 July 2007. Accessed 30 November 2009
  30. ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/201008260072.html
  31. ^ "Brumskine-Siakor: Another Dream Ticket?". The 1847 Post. 9 February 2011. 
  32. ^ [2] Statistics link
  33. ^ [3] Statistics link 2

External links[edit]