Former Nigeria coach Adegboye Onigbinde has congratulated Liberia’s President-elect, George Weah, saying the former World Footballer of the Year will make a good leader for the West African country.
Weah on Thursday defeated Vice-President Joseph Boakai to win Liberia’s presidential election runoff with 61.5% of the vote. The Monrovia-born former AC Milan superstar will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s 25th president next month, in what will be the country’s first democratic transition since 1944.
The 1995 World Player of the Year emerged victorious after winning 12 of Liberia’s 15 counties.
After running unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2005, when he was defeated by Sirleaf, Weah got into another fruitless run for the vice-presidency on the ticket of presidential candidate Winston Tubman in 2011.
Until his contest for the presidency in 2017, Weah was a Senator for Montserrado County.
Former FIFA instructor Onigbinde said on the telephone on Friday that apart from being an excellent footballer in his playing days, the 51-year-old has the leadership qualities off the field, which are needed to ensure that he succeeds in his new task as the president of the former American colony.
“I have known Weah since he was a footballer and I can say that he has always been excellent in all he does. He was part of the footballers I assessed while I was with both FIFA and CAF and I still have his records as a footballer,” he said.
“I was not surprised that Liberians have chosen him as their president because he is well-loved by his countrymen both home and abroad. I believe he will make a good president for the country and his time in the position will be enjoyed by his people.
“When he was a footballer, he had passion for the game and he was free of scandals. He enjoyed achieving the targets he set for himself and made sure that his team comes first rather than his personal glory.
“In 1995 when he won the three awards – the European Footballer of the Year, the African Footballer of the Year and the World Footballer of the Year – he did more for his team than he had ever done for himself as a player. When he was not scoring, he was contributing to the success of the team and I was one of those who assessed him that year.