MONROVIA, - Liberian President and former football star George Weah awarded ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with the country's highest honor in a ceremony on Friday for services to African football that included launching Weah's own acclaimed career.
Wenger found Weah playing for Cameroon's Tonnerre Yaounde and brought him to French side Monaco in 1988, paving the way for a career playing striker at some of Europe's top clubs, including AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Chelsea. In 1995 Weah was named World Footballer of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, still the only African to win either award.
"You proved yourself as a teacher when you revolutionized forever the approach of scouting young talents all over the planet, particularly throughout Africa," Weah said of Wenger during a ceremony in the capital Monrovia.
Wenger was named a Knight Grand High Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption, the highest rank in Liberia's Order of Distinction. Fellow coach Claude Le Roy, who first told Wenger about Weah's talent, also received the award on Friday.
Thousands of spectators clapped and cheered as Wenger received his medal in a hall at the national stadium adorned with the national red, white and blue. Thousands more listened to the ceremony on the radio in the stadium, once a shelter for people displaced by a civil war that ended fifteen years ago.