Timothy Weah has played a crucial role in all but ensuring the USA’s spot in the pre-quarterfinals of the Under-17 World Cup. But football isn’t the only thing on his mind right now.
His father George, football’s living legend, is one of the main contenders to succeed Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the president of Liberia, which went to elections on Tuesday. And Weah Junior is keeping a keen eye on proceedings from India.
“As far as the country (Liberia) goes, I feel any African country is in the stage of developing. With my dad running, he really loves his people and he really helps them,” Timothy says. “I am really happy and proud of him. He has taken a right step to build his country.”
George is considered to be among football’s all-time greats. One of the best strikers of his generation, the Liberian international played for several European clubs but is remembered the most for his five years with Italian giants AC Milan, for whom he scored 46 goals in 114 matches. In 1995, he became the first African player to be named World Player of the Year by FIFA.
Post retirement, he became involved in Liberian politics and this is the third time he is running for the country’s highest office and is among the front-runners in the 20-candidate race. “His leadership would be a huge step in the right path. What he did with the national team is amazing. He bought their clothes, bought their balls,” Timothy says. “It’s cool to have a dad who has done so much.”
Although George is Liberian, his son was born in Brooklyn, New York. Timothy, who is with French giants Paris St Germain’s academy, is one of USA’s main players in the ongoing under-17 World Cup and played an influential role in his side’s 3-0 win over India in the opening match last Friday. Like his father, Timothy too is a striker.
He has so far managed to avoid the pitfalls of being the son of a famous father. And even though he realises the expectations from him are pretty high, Timothy says he does not feel the pressure. “I know even sometimes when I don’t play so good, people will say he is the son of George Weah and blah, blah, blah. He plays at PSG and needs to do better. (But) I am in the point of development and feel like there’s so much progress that needs to be done,” he says.
So the 17-year-old rarely discusses his career with his father. Instead, it’s the other way round. Rather than the father keeping a check on his son’s career, USA’s under-17 star prefers to talk about his father’s political work. “It keeps things calm at home. Although I am not really into politics,” says the boy who during his stay in India could see his father grow from a footballing legend to his country’s president.
The result of the Liberian polls are expected by this weekend.