The fifteen games (including a victorious FA Cup final) that George Weah played for Chelsea Football Club in the first few months of the year 2000 are nowhere near the top of his rather lengthy list of accomplishments — nor are the five goals he scored for us, including a debut winner against Spurs — but they are still fondly remembered around these parts.
They also provide a convenient lede for the major (non-sporting) events happening in Liberia, Weah’s homeland, where he’s been involved in politics since 2005. In fact, after unsuccessful bids for president (2005) and vice-president (2011), Weah, a senator since 2014, looks the odds-on favorite to win the election this year. He currently leads the first-round of voting with almost 40 per cent of the vote, though if he does not achieve absolute majority, he will have to enter a run-off against the second place candidate. These are just preliminary results; final results of the first round will be announced on October 25.
The only worry for the African Player of the Century is that he’s been here before. He was leading through the first round in 2005 as well (with 28 per cent of the vote), but lost in the run-off to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who’s been president ever since. With her time in office now up after two terms, Liberia are set for the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in the country since 1944.
Hopefully this time Weah nods in the winner just like on that fine winter’s day at Stamford Bridge.