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I have never done that before but I couldn't find the right words to express my emotions ... one of the greatest player ever to have worn the mighty red and black shirt has said his final farwell ...

THANK YOU MR. WEAH ... and may God bless you for the rest of your life ...

www.onefootball.com article for this occasion ...

Lone star says farewell

Monday 28th January 2002

by Jonathan Wilson in Mopti

He has experienced the highs at Milan and Monaco, but George Weah bade farewell to international football in Mopti, a small Malian trading town on the Niger.

Not for him the friendly against Japan enjoyed by Dragan Stojkovic, not even a Gala Weah in the manner of Gheorghe Hagi, Weah ended his international career in the third group game of the first stage of the African Nations Cup, in front of just 8,000 people, most of whom were more concerned with events seven hours away in Bamako, where Mali beat Algeria to progress to the quarter-finals.

And yet there is perhaps no player who has ever meant so much to his country as Weah means to Liberia.

Brought up in a family of 13 by his grandmother in the humid climes of Bushrod Island, near Monrovia, Weah grew not merely to become one of the greatest centre-forwards ever to grace the world stage, but to emerge as the messiah of his nation.

The importance of the Liberia national side, the Lone Stars - and its significance in every sphere of life in the country - cannot be underestimated. For years, the national side was the only thing that brought together every faction in Liberia, and saw them put aside their political differences to rally behind a common cause.

"The Lone Stars were the only institution in our country that was non-partisan," Willy Russell, a former president of the Liberian FA, explains. "It crosses ethnic lines, religious lines, political lines, every other line. It was a vehicle for unity."

And for a time in 2001 that vehicle looked like rumbling on to the greatest stage of all, the World Cup. As Liberian journalist Duwli Toe puts it: " We have had our differences in the past and we have to learn to respect each other's point of view. However, when it comes to the Lone Stars, we are all one. The Lone Stars shine so brightly that darkness cannot penetrate."

And the brightest of the stars, without question, was Weah. It is not just that he is the most famous man ever to emerge from a nation founded in 1822 by American philanthropists for the resettlement of freed slaves, that he is a Unicef ambassador, painter, dancer and singer-songwriter, that he was the driving force behind AC Milan's title triumph in 1996, or even that he became the first man to hold World, African and European Player of the year awards when he swept the board in 1995; he simply is Liberia, and the Lone Stars couldn't exist without him.

After war broke out in 1989, Weah kept the national team going out of his own pocket, paying for kit, accommodation and air-fares, just to ensure that Liberia maintained their presence on the world stage.

It wasn't even that he had particularly great raw materials to help him.

When the Lone Stars assembled for the 1996 African Nations, players arrived from such far-flung corners of the globe as Malaysia, the USA and the Cape Verde Islands.

Only fanatical support - even when the conflict forced Liberia to play home games in Ghana, they received vociferous backing from Liberian refugees in the country - and Weah's philanthropic vision kept them going.

"If I hadn't done this," he explains, ¡§our boys would have been in the streets, in the refugee camps. We didn't want talented players fleeing the country and doing nothing."

Doing nothing certainly isn't something of which Weah could ever be accused.

Few gave Liberia any chance of qualifying when they were drawn in a group with Nigeria and four-times African champions Ghana. But Weah took over as technical director midway through the campaign, rallied his troops, and suddenly, as Maritimo forward Musa Shannon put it, "the players believed in a dream".

But then, two games from the end of the qualifying campaign, it all went wrong as Liberia lost 2-1 at home to Ghana. And, as expectation turned to anger, Weah bore the brunt of the fans' disappointment, as fans hurled missiles at him and abuse at his family.

Weah quit, and moved on to a Middle Eastern sinecure with UAE side Al Jazirah.

But, a giant among men, could not desert his country for long, and he came back in time to lead the side into Mali 2002.

There were problems, of course there were. A friendly against Egypt in Cairo had to be cancelled when only eight of Liberia's squad turned up; there was a player strike a week before the tournament; and most of the Liberian team made the 1,000 mile journey from Monrovia to Bamako in a battered old bus; but that is not the point - Liberia were there for the first game, and they were led by Weah.

And it could have ended in glory. Weah, playing in a more withdrawn role than in his heyday, rose in a crowded box to head home a corner three minutes before half-time.

His celebrations ¡V racing to the bench, his face contorted with emotion ¡V left nobody in any doubt just how much his country, how much this rag-tag bundle of players from nine countries and four continents, means to him.

But Mali equalised three minutes from time, and a late equaliser from Algeria in the second group game effectively ended Liberia's hopes. And in that game against Algeria, it became apparent just how far this Weah is from the Weah of old.

This is not the powerful centre-forward who once picked up the ball in his own box and raced the length of the field, brushing off Verona defenders before slotting the ball home.

This is an ageing Weah, reduced to fleeting touches of the old magic, a fading genius struggling to come to terms with the waning of his powers and frustrated into *****rdliness.

He could have retired after leaving Milan, but on he stumbled, to Chelsea, to Manchester City and to Marseille, his name opening doors and his weary legs rapidly closing them, as he came to resemble nothing so much as a boxer who has gone on too long, not dancing but wrestling.

But Liberia still needed him, and there is a sense in which once again he sacrificed personal considerations to the needs of his country.

And so to Mopti and the end of the road. The sun, as if in deference to the occasion, for the first time in the tournament, was covered by a veil of haze.

Along the causeway across the swamp that separates the old town from the new, they lined up to wave good-bye; at the stadium a local youth troop formed a guard of honour: in the end, it felt deeply appropriate that Weah should say farewell in such a quintessentially African setting.

A run and pass to Josephus Yenay, a delightful ball slipped through to Prince Daye, a stumbling turn through two defenders ¡V there are reminders enough of the genius of old. And then, on 56 minutes, the chance. A ball in from the right, Weah stretches with Isaac Okoronkwo, and the ball spins inches past the post.

Eight minutes later, Julius Aghahowa nods Nigeria ahead, and the clock is counting down not merely the time that remains in the game, but also ticking off the final seconds in the career of Africa's greatest player.

8,197 Posts
Clap! Clap! Clap! Bravo to George Weah, He was still doing unbelievable things when I just started watching soccer in 97/98! ;)

Super Moderator
13,722 Posts
I would have loved to see te Mufasa retiring with a Milan Jersey, at San Siro. But things just happen, and we´ll all remember the man, the player, the Lyon King that Weah will always be.

:devil: :devil: :devil: :devil:

XT Post Number King
111,120 Posts
i m not a milan fan...nor a weah fan...but i think what weah had done for milan really made all the milan fans feel proud of him...and certainly, i think the african should be proud of him as well...i had a lot of admiration for him...

god bless u, weah... :)

9,967 Posts
Weah has put African Soccer on the World Map. Without his exploits, without his goals, without his magic that he has dazzled the world with, we might never see the emerging stars of Africa dancing and creating waves in the Leagues of Europe and all over the world. Yeboah, Abedi-Pele and Hassam Hossam has also put prominence into African Soccer, but it is Weah that is held with esteem throughout Africa. A journey that takes him through Monaco, Milan, Chelsea and subsequently Marseille. :)

Not only has he bring African Soccer onto the world Map, he has also bring Liberia into prominence. Who knows where and what is the nickname of Liberia football team is called before Weah? I remembered watching an episode of Futball Mondial that featured Weah and Liberia and the lasting impression that Weah contributed to Liberia and its causes, fighting poverty and giving children the hope that one day, if they fight hard enough, they can make it.:)

Thank you Weah.

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