Liberia president George Weah made a surprise return to football on Tuesday – playing for his country in a 2-1 defeat to Nigeria.
The 51-year-old, the only African to win the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year, started the friendly match in the Liberian capital of Monrovia and received a standing ovation after being substituted on 79 minutes.
The game had been arranged to honor Weah, sworn in as president in January, and retire the No. 14 shirt made famous by the former striker during his playing days.
But to some surprise, Weah captained the team and reportedly showed glimpses of his former magic while leading the attack.
Opponents Nigeria fielded a relatively strong side for the international friendly, with Leicester City duo Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho both making appearances.
The Super Eagles dominated much of the showpiece, taking a two-goal lead through Henry Onyekuru and Simeon Nwankwo before the home side responded with a late Kpah Sherman penalty.
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On the day Weah was rolling back the years, his son, Tim Weah, played 89 minutes for the US in a 1-0 win over 10-man Mexico. The 18-year-old, who was born in New York, plays for French Ligue 1 outfit Paris Saint-Germain, one of his father’s former teams.
The older Weah, considered one of the greatest strikers in history, also played for Monaco and AC Milan, among others, in an 18-year playing career and represented Liberia on 61 occasions.
Following his retirement from football, he signaled his intention to move into politics. After a failed attempt to run for office in 2005, he secured a landslide victory at the start of the year.