Sunday October 9, 2005
Fashanu backs Weah’s bid for presidency
MONROVIA: A bid by former AC Milan striker George Weah to become president of Liberia is helping footballers' image, former England striker John Fashanu said on Friday.
Fashanu, who holds dual British and Nigerian nationality and once played for Wimbledon and Aston Villa, is in Monrovia to support the candidacy of Weah, one of the favourites to win Liberia's first post-war elections next Tuesday.
“We in the footballing community love it ... it opens the door for footballers. It puts to bed the stereotypical view of footballers as monosyllabic,” Fashanu told Reuters.
He described himself as Weah's “best friend”.
Rivals have questioned whether 39-year-old Weah, who was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995 and has become a football millionaire, has the experience and qualifications to lead Liberia as it emerges from a 14-year civil war.
The former Monaco and Paris St Germain player was raised in a Monrovia shantytown and did not attend higher education.
Fashanu, who is now acting as an honorary sports ambassador for Nigeria, shrugged off Weah's lack of academic qualifications.
“Footballers travel the world. What they do not learn as technocrats, they learn in the university of life,” he said.
Weah's rivals in Liberia's Oct 11 elections include a World Bank-trained economist and two wealthy lawyers. – Reuters