President George Weah has appealed to the Government of France and international partners to support the Liberian government for the improvement of Liberia’s sports sector.
He made the appeal during his visit to the network of French businesses, the Movement des Enterprise de France (MEDEF), and his subsequent visit to French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday.
MEDEF is a business network that consists of over 750,000 members and firms that places job-creation and sustainable growth at the heart of its actions.
According to President Weah, investing in the Liberian sports sector will serve as a conduit to empower more Liberian youths who can positively contribute to the sustainable growth and development of the country.
“Sports was my driven tool and I was in search of a single opportunity to travel out of Liberia. Through sports I traveled to Cameroon and later to France. Through sports you can build character and create wealth,” he said.
During his deliberation, Weah said it is saddening that Liberia, as Africa’s oldest republic, cannot host an international competition due to the limited sporting facilities in the country.
“Imagine Liberia with one Ballon d’Or and one stadium. If we had seven or ten we could have more Ballon d’Or,” he said.
As a football icon who plied his career in France, Weah said it was due to the sporting facilities and the availability of football materials that motivated him to hit the football pitch in Europe’s top leagues.
Weah was assisted by Arsène Wenger, who took him to Europe, signed him for Monaco in 1988 and later joined Paris Saint-Germain in 1992, where he won the Ligue 1 title and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. He signed for Milan in 1995, where he spent four successful seasons, winning Serie A twice.
“In Liberia, there are several kids who are passionate about sports and want to play but do not have the needed resources. A kid in Liberia takes about three months to strive and get a pair of boots,” he said.
He added that the national league is poor and lacks sponsorship, for which he called on French businesses to invest in the sports sector in order to add more attraction to the league and motivate local players.
“We are encouraging our partners to help us build more stadiums and create more sporting companies so that our league can be more competitive,” he said.