Liberian President George Weah is to award his former football coach, Arsène Wenger, his country’s highest honour. President Weah, the only African to have been named World Player of the Year, was signed by Wenger in 1988 when he coached Monaco. Wenger, who stepped down as Arsenal manager in May after 22 years, nurtured several African stars. The president retired from football in 2003 and went into politics. He won last year’s election by a landslide.
Wenger is expected to be in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, for the award ceremony on Friday, Liberia’s Information Minister Eugene Nagbe said. He will be inducted into the country’s Order of Distinction and be given the title of Knight Grand Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption – the highest rank possible.
The news has generated controversy in Liberia, with some saying that the honour should not be given to an individual for what they have done for the president personally. But the award is not only about the personal connection between the president and Wenger, the information minister said – it also recognises that he “has contributed to sports in Africa and has given many Africans opportunities”.