MONROVIA: George Weah, the former AC Milan, Manchester City and Chelsea striker, has been elected as President of Liberia.
Weah – the first African to win the Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year – won comprehensively, clinching 12 of the 15 counties in the West African country.
His opponent Joseph Boakai, who has been vice-president for the last 12 years, won only two counties.
Weah’s footballing fame helped secure significant support amongst the youth of Liberia, where 60pc of the population is under the age of 30.
He had topped the first round of voting in October but without reaching the 50pc needed to win outright. The runoff was delayed twice after allegations of voting fraud and irregularities.
Weah will take over from Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who beat him in an election in 2005.
The 51 year-old moved to Moving to Europe in 1988 and spent 14 remarkable years with Monaco under his acknowledged ‘father figure’ Arsene Wenger, Paris Saint-Germain and Milan before short stints at Chelsea and Manchester City, finishing his European career in Marseille.
It was during his five years at the Rossoneri from 1995 to 2000 that he confirmed his reputation as one of the world’s most fearsome strikers, winning the Ballon d’Or in 1995 and FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996.
Weah joined Chelsea in 2000 on loan and had an immediate impact, scoring a header on his debut in a derby game against Tottenham.
He scored five goals in 14 matches for the club, starting the 2000 FA Cup final against Aston Villa as they beat the Midlanders 1-0.
Weah was voted African Footballer of the Year three times, won Italy’s Serie A twice, the French league once and various domestic cups in both countries.