Senator-elect Weah Delivers ‘Victory Speech’ Today

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Mr. Weah comfortably beat off a challenge_web.jpg

Montserrado County’s Senator-elect George M. Weah is expected to deliver his “victory speech” this afternoon at the headquarters of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in Congo Town after being overwhelmingly elected to the Liberian Senate on December 20.

Amb. Weah defeated Robert Sirleaf, the son of President Sirleaf. He becomes the first Liberian international athlete elected to represent a county in the Legislature.

In contrast to his failure to convey his platform to voters prior to the elections, blaming it on exhaustion and curfew, Senator-elect Weah will announce his deliverables (platform) to the people of Montserrado County today.

In an exclusive interview via mobile phone over the weekend, CDC’s Montserrado County chairman, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, said Amb. Weah will be officially unveiled as the “Senator-elect,” though he did not clearly state what the Senator-elect’s victory speech would contain.

“God willing, it will be done at a major press conference today, Monday, December 29, 2014 at the CDC headquarters. The event is scheduled to begin at 12 noon and all guests are required to be seated by 11:40 a.m,” Prof. Tarpeh said.

Obviously  Amb. Weah is expected to thank the people of Montserrado for their votes.

The former football star won a landslide victory, claiming 99, 226 votes, which represented 78.0% of the total votes from the 141 polling centers, while his closest rival, the President’s son, Robert Sirleaf,  got 13,692 votes, which is nearly 11% in the election marred only by a low turnout.

The low turnout in the poll, which was first planned for October, and later December 16, was blamed on concerns about Ebola.

Other winners in the senate elections include Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of the jailed former president Charles Taylor, and the former rebel leader Prince Johnson. Both retained their seats for Bong and Nimba counties. The remaining Senators-elect are: A Marshall Dennis (Grand Gedeh County); Morris Saytumah (Bomi County), Cllr. Varney Sherman (Grand Cape Mount County), Jonathan Kaipay (Grand Bassa) and  Amb. ConmanyWesseh (River Gee County). Others include Jim WombaTornonlah (Margibi County), Francis Saturday Paye (Rivercess County), Daniel F. Naatehn (Gbapolu country), Albert T. Chie (Grand Kru country) and J. Gbleh-bo Brown (Maryland county)

It may be recalled that the African football legend, Amb. Weah, was one of the leading lights of the global game in the 1990s, as a superstar in Africa. Although he never had the opportunity to grace the FIFA World Cup finals, Weah made up for it with a hugely successful club career.

George Weah was a towering figure on the '90s football scene. An exceptional goal scorer, it is no exaggeration to describe him as the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today. Quick, skillful and boasting a powerful physique, fierce shooting power and deadly finishing skills, in his prime Liberia's 'Mr George' was rightly considered one of the giants of the game.

He began his footballing career in 1987 with Yaounde's Tonnerre, one of the biggest clubs in Cameroon, before joining Monaco in France a year later at the age of 21. Arsene Wenger, his coach in the principality, would later say of his purchase: "Weah was a real surprise. For me it was like a child discovering a chocolate bunny in his garden at Easter. I have never seen any player explode on to the scene as he did."

A return of 47 goals in 103 league matches for the Monegasques backs up Wenger's glowing appraisal. However, after a four-season stay he moved north to Paris Saint-Germain, where he made his mark across the continent by scoring 16 times in 25 European outings, a haul that included a wonder-goal against Bayern Munich.

After top-scoring in the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League with eight goals, he decamped to AC Milan and scooped the FIFA World Player of the Year, France Football's European Footballer of the Year and the CAF African Footballer of the Year awards for 1995. He also helped his team to the championship in 1996, collecting a second scudetto three years later.

In 114 appearances in the famous red-and-black jersey he scored 46 goals, none of them better than his unforgettable solo effort against Verona, which saw him slam his way past seven opposing players before coolly slotting the ball home. Weah departed Milan in January 2000, joining Chelsea and then moving on to Manchester City, Marseille and Al Jazirah before announcing his retirement in August 2003.

The Liberian's personal achievements reflect his immense impact on the game. He is the only African to have been voted FIFA World Player of the Year by his peers, and aside from his unique 1995 hat-trick, he also collected France Football's African Footballer of the Year award in 1989 and 1994, and was named African Footballer of the Century by the continent's sports writers in 1999.

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