Former World Footballer of the Year George Weah rolled back the years with a surprise appearance for Liberia in their friendly with Nigeria – 16 years after his last international outing.
The 51-year-old, who was sworn in as president of the country in December last year after a landslide win, played 79 minutes of the 2-1 defeat to the Super Eagles on Tuesday.
The match was arranged by Liberia to retire the number 14 shirt made famous by Weah during his playing days. Fans were treated to the sight of the former AC Milan forward leading the national team onto the pitch before he showed glimpses of the talent which saw him named the 1995 World Footballer of the Year.
Weah, who also won the Ballon D’Or in the same year and remains the only African to win either award, was substituted to a standing ovation with 11 minutes remaining.
The striker made a name for himself in Europe after moving to Monaco in 1988 before also playing for Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City and Marseille.
His son Timothy, also a striker, currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain although he represents the United States, the country of his birth. On the same day his father was appearing for Liberia, Weah junior started the USA’s 1-0 friendly win over Mexico.
Nigeria fielded a relatively strong team for the game in Monrovia on Tuesday with Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Peter Etebo of Stoke City included. Ndidi’s club team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho came on as a second-half substitute.
Goals from Henry Onyekuru and Simeon Nwankwo helped Nigeria into a 2-0 lead before the hosts pulled a goal back through Kpah Sherman’s penalty late in the game.