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Weah inspires Flames legends

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Malawi national football team legends have said the success of 1995 World Footballer of the Year George Weah in the Liberian presidential elections inspires them to follow in his footsteps.
Weah will be sworn in as the West African country’s president tomorrow in the capital, Monrovia, after defeating incumbent Vice President, Joseph Boakai, in a runoff on December 26.
The former Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City goalpoacher was the heart and soul of the Liberian national football team that faced Malawi in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in 1989.
Malawi’s captain at the time, Young Chimodzi, was given the task of marking Weah, who still managed to score the lone goal with which the Liberians carried the day.
Chimodzi said Weah’s achievement should motivate all footballers to aim at being the best.
“Weah was a world class striker and I feel honoured to have brushed shoulders with him on the pitch. He has led the way for all footballers. We should begin to believe that we can be the best in other careers after retiring from the game,” Chimodzi said.
Another prominent member of the Malawi team that faced Weah and his teammates, Peterkins Kayira, said he personally feels inspired to vie for political office because of what happened in Liberia.
“Weah failed to win the presidency on his first attempt. He tried again and he has made it on the second attempt. It teaches some of us to keep believing,” Kayira said.
Kayira said he will try to emulate Weah’s example by contesting for a political position to prove to the world that former footballers can make great leaders.
Former midfield maestro Chancy ‘Vinny’ Gondwe was also part of the Malawi squad that travelled to Monrovia for the match and recalls growing cold feet when Coach Reuben Malola wanted to introduce him into the match.
“It was a tense match. The whole stadium was chanting Weah’s name and I did not have the courage to brush shoulders with the player who was well known all over the world. And to hear that he will be inaugurated as Liberia’s president is very inspiring,” Gondwe said.
Two former Flames players, Peter Mponda and Fischer Kondowe, have declared their interest to contest for parliamentary seats in next year’s elections in what could be seen as a way of trying to follow in Weah’s footsteps.

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