Liberia: President Weah Reunites With Debbah
Monrovia – It seems the reported feud between President George M. Weah and his cousin and former national teammate James Salinsa Debbah, if it were ever there, may now be a thing of the past as both men shared the stage during the awards night of the Liberian Football Association (LFA).
The President was asked to present the most valuable award of the night; instead he called up his cousin to present the LFA’s Most Valuable Player Award on Saturday at the gala night in Monrovia.
President Weah was the one who was due to announce and present the coveted prize but instead called Debbah to give the car key to its recipient, LISCR’s FC forward Christopher Jackson.
“Let me pay respect to someone in the house; let me call my good friend, my former captain, my cousin, ‘Mr. Jarvis.’
“If we are talking about goal king, this is the goal king we are talking about, ‘Jarvis’ join me,” President Weah said.
“Jarvis, great to see you. I came here with a prize but I want you to present the prize to the Most Valuable Player (MVP),” the President told Debbah, who also goes by this nickname the President called him by.
The Liberian Leader poured praises on his former international teammate for his brilliance of being defenders’ nightmare.
“This man, defenders and goalkeepers were not his friends. You can ask goalkeepers from IE,” the Liberian leader said of Debbah, whose relationship, it is reported, has been soured with the President since he joined active politics.
The pair was international teammates for over 14 years playing in two African Cup of Nations in 1996 and 2002.
When Liberia came close to reaching the finals of the Fifa World Cup qualification for Korea and Japan in 2002, both Weah and Debbah were instrumental in scoring goals for the Red, White and Blue.
Amid their post-football careers, President Weah took a political ambition while Debbah remained focus on football, where he had an ambition to contest the LFA presidency but was barred due to a clause in the FA status.
Debbah, who told the audience that he has a problem with the modern days for the lack of constructive jealousy, served as head coach of the Lone Star.
During the political season in 2017, Debbah chose to put his support behind Liberty Party’s Charles Walker Brumskine. The rumors became rife that the Debbah’s cousin, than contesting against Brumskine and others, was furious that his cousin didn’t back him but chose another person.
Weah went on to win the election and became Liberia’s next President after former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Following the former World Player of the Year’s ascendancy at the Presidency of Liberia, the LFA shortly parted company with Debbah who was serving as head coach of the national team. It was rumored that the decision for the LFA to part company with Debbah was due to the President’s influence. The rumor mongers also had that another of the President’s friend and former teammate, Thomas Kojo, had allegedly told the President and it was job that he (Kojo) wanted. Of course, Kojo did get the job whether the President played any part, is not established.
In 2018, Debbah voiced out concerns as the friction between the two intensified after President’s decision to omit him from the honor of former Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger.
Debbah had written on his personal Facebook page expressing his disgust on the idea not to be officially invited to the ceremony.
The former Lone Star head coach wrote: “Despite the fact that I am also a recipient of the prestigious award, I was never given an official invitation to the event, but I insisted and went to pay homage to the man (Prof. Arsene Wenger) who gave me my break in professional football. God is great.”