President Weah Opens 2017/18 National County Meet; Admonishes Self-Controlled Amongst Young People

Saturday, 31st March 2018
President Weah takes official kickoff of the National County Meet
President Weah takes official kickoff of the National County Meet
Photo Credit: Executive Mansion Photo

Gbarnga, Bong County - President George Manneh Weah has declared open the 2017/2018 National County Meet. The ceremony took place in Gbarnga, Bong County, which occasioned the kick-off taken by the Liberian leader at the Gbarnga Sports Stadium.


All of Liberia’s 15 Counties are participating in the tournament with long time arch-rivals - Bong and Lofa counties beginning the campaign. The counties are paired in groups of four, with the top two finishers in each group expected to come to Monrovia for the grand finale.


Declaring the National County Meet officially opened on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at the Gbarnga Administrative Building, President Weah emphasized the significance of sports in pursuit of national unity and reconciliation.


President Weah’s political success is always traced to his iconic football career that spanned over 17 years in Africa, Europe and Asia, becoming the first African to win FIFA Best Player of the Year in 1995.


As a player of the National Football Team, the Lone Star, the Liberian leader used football to impact the search for peace in Liberia, when the country was consumed by a devastating civil strife.


“Today, we are here to open the County Meet; the county meet is when we come together to enjoy ourselves through sports. Sports unify people”; the President said, and added: “You know, some people downplay sports, and we should not do that in any society.”


He recalled as a player in France, he returned from a very tough practice, only to be introduced to a graphic scene of the carnage in Liberia at the time on TV, and said he and his friends in the house prostrated in shocks and frustration, seeing images of destruction and suffering of fellow Liberians.


President Weah noted the gruesome nature of the Liberian situation propelled him and others to reorganize the National Team that had been dormant due to the war, stressing, “We used sports to bring peace to Liberia.”


The Liberian leader said: “We used the National Team through sports, to access refugee camps, to reawaken confidence in them; that there is light at the end of the tunnel; so, we should not downplay sports”.


“When the Minister came to me, I said we must play the County Meet, because this is the time our people unite. This is the time the enemy embrace you, even when something happens”; President Weah revealed.


As Senator, he was an official of the Montserrado County Team that won the 2017 County Meet, the first time in several years. But as President of the country, he said he has no loyalty to a particular county, but to all.


However, the Liberian leader also used the occasion to wish students sitting the West African Senior Exams, WASSCE, well and urged them to bring ‘good results.’


“We believe in you, this is why our government is trying to re-establish the Student Cadet Program, which allows students to work during break, to earn a living and master their areas of interest,” the President said.The Program, according to him, will be of help to students because it is a stepping-stone for them to achieve their dreams and become who they want to be.


According to President Weah, “When the program is approved and operational, selected students would earn US$100, instead of $75, as it was in the past. He admonished young people to be good stewards, and not wasteful as a result of peer pressure.


President Weah then used his son Timothy Weah as an example who refused to do what his friends did in America at age 14. He said: “Let’s not follow people, let us do our thing; it is not what you put on, it is how you make good what you put on.”


He emphasized: “That is the mentality you should keep, do not copy people when you should be doing your own thing.Everybody wants to be like others because of peer pressure; because they see their friends smoking, they want to smoke.”


“This government is a young one; for you to succeed, for your future to be good, you have to be focused on what you want to achieve.”


President Weah recalled his campaign pledge to write-off the WAEC fees for students, and said his government has solved the problem, and encouraged students to study hard to make good grades.


Meanwhile,President Weah has reiterated his commitment to changing the outlook of Monrovia; beginning with the planned transformation of Balli Island – an island situated in the middle of the Mesurado River, into the “new Monrovia City”.


“I have a task; before I leave office, you will say George Manneh Weah is the only President, since 1847, that has done something”; he said. He bemoaned criticisms coming from Liberians over the plan to transform Balli Island, while on the contrary people in the international community have embraced same.