Weah’s #14 Jersey Retired With 2-1 Defeat for Liberia
The Liberian government Tuesday retired the famous number 14 jersey which was worn by Soccer Legend, now President of Liberia, H.E. George Manneh Oppong Weah.
The retirement ceremony of the famous #14 shirt of the Lone Star was graced by a special international friendly between Liberia Lone Star and Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the Samuel Keyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
The Super Eagles paraded a strong senior side against the Lone Star who fielded former Liberia, Africa, Europe, and World Best player George Weah and his former International team-mate James Salinsa Debbah, along with some members of Liberia Under-20 national team players.
The Visiting Nigerian Super Eagles took the friendly as a qualifier as they pressed the Lone Star with all their might, scoring twice in the first half to take the lead.
Henry Chukwuemeka Onyekuru put Nigeria in-front with a well-placed strike before Simeon Tochukwu headed in a second after the Liberian keeper failed to deal with a corner ball that passed in his face in the six-yard box.
Liberian second-half substitute, Kpan Sherman pulled one back for the Lone Star from the penalty spot after a Nigerian defender handed the ball in the 18 box.
President Weah who turns 52 next month, played 78 minutes of the match showing class on his torches on the ball, but tough making from the Nigerians could not gift the Soccer Legend goal chances.
Scores of football fans braved the rainy weather to storm the SKD Sports Complex to spectate the event.
Several top brasses of government including the Speaker of the House and some members of the Diplomatic corps including, the US Ambassador to Liberia also grace the occassion.
The number 14 shirt was hanged after the match with President Weah commending guests and Liberians for showing up to embrace the event.
The President, however, said though he felt great humanity and gratitude for the honor, he was saddened to see the recognition come so late on this day.
He said, “I have worked for the Lone Star so hard and for so long. Almost everyone knows that I have made my sacrifice of my time and treasure over many years to bring glory to the National Team by attempting to qualify for the World Cup”.
The Soccer Legend in his speech questioned; “I asked myself for the entire contributions I have made for the game in Liberia why did it take so long for this jersey to retire?”
The Chief Patron of Sports said though he began using the number as a substitute, he fought to change the case of the number and began to feature on first selections.
He added that the National team made him strong and he felt it was the right time for the retirement of the jersey.
President Weah said now that the number is retired, football authorities in Liberia must seek his approval before getting the jersey out of retirement.
The Liberian Leader paid tribute to several personalities whom he said impacted his career, including clubs he played for and mates on those teams.
The Liberian Chief Patron of Sports further called on all stakeholders to combine efforts in helping to improve football in Liberia, as he said doing so may see the country produce another Ballon d’Or winner.
He added that he will work with the Liberia Football Association in finding coaches out of the country to help with the development of the national team.
The Nigerian Football delegation presented, President Weah a Super Eagles number 14 shirt as a gift.