Many Ghanaians still do not understand why the President of Liberia, H.E George Manneh Oppong Weah has a name that gives him a Ghanaian identity but claims otherwise.
Ghbase.com had made some extensive research into the Akan-bearing name ‘Oppong’ which the former professional footballer uses and where he might have got it from.
Rumours used to have it that George Oppong Weah’s father used to hail from the Western Region in Ghana before naturalizing to become a Liberian after marrying his mother. Also many believed his mother was either a Ghanaian who got married to his father and later naturalized to become a Liberian.
As I said, these are pure rumours. However, George Oppong Weah’s father is called William T. Weah, Sr., who was a mechanic and his mother, Anna Quayeweah a petty trader who died in 2013.
Do you see any Ghanaian identity in his mother’s name? Quaye? Many also believe the name Weah is of Ghanaian origin with scanty proof.
I believe your question on whether George Oppong Weah is a Ghanaian or not is still not answered. Well, now we will delve straight into that.
George Oppong Weah was originally born George Manneh Weah on October 1, 1966, in the Clara Town district of Monrovia. He is a member of the Kru ethnic group, which hail from south-eastern Liberia’s Grand Kru County, one of the poorest areas of the country.
Although the one-time FIFA Footballer of the Year winner has a house in Ghana, he has on countless occasions debunked rumours that he hails from Ghana.
In a visit to Ghana in 2017, George Oppong Weah in a radio interview with Starr FM said: “Ghana played a major role in my upbringing especially doing the war in Liberia when our national team was based in Ghana at the time.”
The Ballon D’or winner adopted the name ‘Oppong’ after he fled to Ghana with the Liberian national team during the civil unrest in Liberia. He enjoyed the hospitality and warm welcome they received and in appreciation, decided to adopt the name ‘Oppong’ to remind him of the role Ghana played in his life.
During the stay of George Oppong Weah and the Liberian national team in Ghana, it provided them with the opportunity to train on relatively better pitches which helped them to win their AFCON qualifying matches and qualified for that year’s African Cup on Nations Tournament.
In a nutshell, the ‘Oppong’ puzzle has been solved with the comprehensive understanding that George Manneh Weah adopted the name ‘Oppong’ to show his appreciation to Ghana for the warm reception his team received during the civil unrest in Liberia.
The name constantly reminds him of Ghana but does not make or mean he is a Ghanaian.
Due to his performances with both Paris Saint-Germain and Milan, in 1995 Weah was the recipient of several individual awards: he won the Ballon d’Or, the Onze d’Or, and was named FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first and, currently, only native African player, to win these awards; Weah dedicated his FIFA World Player of the Year victory to his former manager, Arsène Wenger, stating that it was thanks to him that he was able to develop into a world-class player.
That year, Weah also won the African Player of the Year Award for the third time in his career and was named to the Onze de Onze by the French football magazine Onze Mondial. In 1996, Weah finished second in the FIFA World Player of the Year ranking; he was also the recipient of the FIFA Fair Play Award and was voted the African Player of the Century by sports journalists from around the world.
George Oppong Weah at the prime of his career played for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, A.C. Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City and Olympique Marseille.