Ex-soccer star Weah elected Liberia president by wide margin

Arjan de Zeeuw

The South African Football Association (SAFA) on Saturday congratulated Liberian president-elect, George Weah on his recent victory in the country's elections.

The results were almost identical to those announced on Thursday evening by the commission after 98 percent of returns.

A victory speech, however, was postponed after crowds of energetic supporters gathered around a podium for Weah's address grew too boisterous, an AFP correspondent said.

The Chairman of NEC, Jerome Korkoya, who made the announcement on Thursday, said the final results would be released on Friday.

The former football celebrity turned politician, senator and now president has a huge task ahead of him with most of the country's young people harboring high hopes for his government ahead of his swearing-in on January 16.

The president also commended outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, "under whose 12-year watch Liberia had transformed from being a pariah state to a country doing remarkably well on many fronts such as, women and civil rights issue, peace building and consolidation, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union".

The French presidency says in a statement that Weah accepted the invitation.

Weah's rags-to-riches story has been an inspiration to many supporters who call him "King George".

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Celebrations have begun in Liberia as former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah is set to be declared the victor of the West African nation's presidential election. She led the country from back-to-back civil wars and saw it through a deadly Ebola outbreak that killed almost 5,000 Liberians.

Though voter turnout for Tuesday's runoff was low, Weah drew support from the younger generation, which makes up a majority of Liberia's population of 4.6 million people. He played for top local clubs before starting his global career in Cameroon, then moved on to AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, where he became famous.

Weah played with AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, among others.

Oppong Weah won the run-off election to lead the West African country for the next four years.

AC Milan on Friday tweeted its congratulations on "legend" Weah's win.

Weah's limited educational background hurt his political aspirations, and he returned to school after the 2005 attempt for president.

Information for this article was contributed by Carley Petesch of The Associated Press.

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