George Oppong Weah’s transition from footballer to politician has a very interesting backstory to it.
The 53-year-old enjoyed a very distinguished career, which saw him play in France, Italy, and England.
Although he never got to lift the UEFA Champions League, he won multiple league titles PSG and AC Milan, as well as the FA Cup with Chelsea.
The pinnacle of Weah’s football career came in 1995 when he won the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or.
Having achieved almost everything there is to achieve in football, a fulfilled Weah turned his attention to politics in his native Liberia.
(L) George Weah worn PSG shirt from the ‘94 European Cup Winner's Cup Semi first leg matchup with Arsenal. It sold for around £500 at Graham Budd Auctions in 2012. (R)This Ronaldinho worn PSG shirt from the 2003 Ligue 1 season brought around $400 at Julien's Auctions in 2017. pic.twitter.com/Wl5m7AQrTM
— The Soccer Collectible Show (@soccercollect) September 9, 2020
After years of civil war came to an end in the mid-2000s, he announced his ambition of running for President in 2005.
Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change political party, however, lost to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Many put his loss down to his lack of education and inexperience in the political space.
In 2014, the footballer cum politician won his first election after he was overwhelmingly elected senate of the Montserrado County.
In doing so, he became the first Liberian international athlete to be elected to represent a county in the Legislature.
Three years later, in 2017, Weah announced his intention to run for the Liberian presidency again. Contesting on the ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change, he won the first round of the 2017 elections.
Despite polling 38.4% of the vote, the election went into a second-round vote against Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party.
Liberian President George Weah has declared rape a national emergency and ordered new measures to tackle the problem after a recent spike of cases in the West African state. pic.twitter.com/7Lfnn12IQS
— AECIP (@aecipicesi) September 16, 2020
Weah, however, won the runoff with a whopping 60% of the votes, finally realizing his dream of becoming President.
He was subsequently sworn into office on January 22, 2018, making him the fourth youngest-serving president in Africa.
Form a footballer who grew up in one of Liberia’s poorest towns, Weah’s story is one that shows that hard work and hope pays.