By Emmanuel wise Jipoh
President George Manneh Weah has commissioned the first National Museum dubbed: “THE SHOES We Aspire to Fill” at the famous Invincible Sports Park in Sinkor, Monrovia as testimonies for those who have scored historic marks for Liberia.
Speaking on Saturday, 17th June 2023, when he officially cut the ribbon to the National Museum, President Weah said the facility will reflect histories and images of those men and women who have represented Liberia at higher levels, something, he said prompted his decision.
“When you look into our history book, you can see my picture, George Weah, former footballer, but it didn’t explain details about me, that the younger generation needs to know, and other athletes, like the great Santo Maria, history didn’t talk about them, so we built this museum to place all images of great men and women that have represented this country, internationally,” he said.
President Weah said history has forgotten about those who have made history for Liberia, and the museum was built to symbolize history for the benefit of the younger generation.
“You see people have forgotten about our history; our players – those that sacrificed for this country, the national team and its players, but I didn’t forget; this is why the museum you see there, every history of this country is there.
“We are proud of those that made the flag; we must also be proud of those that flew the flag, and be proud of those that made history, so our children can learn,” he reiterated.
At the same time, he commended Diadora, an Italian Sports Wear Manufacturing Company for ably sponsoring the Liberia National Team, doing the 1996 Africa’s Cup of Nations, noting that Diadora was the only Red Shoe that made him proud.
“When I wore the Diadora Red Shoe, I was unstoppable. This is why the Red Shoes you see over there, is a symbol of the National Team, whenever they played, they wore the red shoes and became unbeatable; this is the George Weah 11th.”
The Africa’s Icon was quick to clarify long-standing speculations and criticisms of him deliberately using or mismanaging 50,000 United States Dollars received from Diadora Sports Wear for the Lone Star of Liberia, saying “I didn’t use any money given to me by Diadora, all these are rumors.”
President Weah recalled that in 1996 when the National Team made her first official appearance at the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, the Lone Star bought a jersey with colors Blue- White- Black and Brown, and he as Technical Director at the time thought it was dishonest for the country to play in black jerseys, when the national colors are Red, White, and Blue, so he immediately contacted Diadora to provide the National Team jersey with logo of the company to spotlight and Diadora provided the jersey along with US$50,000, which was equally distributed among the players as per diem.
For his part, the Minister of State without Portfolio, Trokon Kpui said the museum showcases real antiquities that date back history of the country and will serve as a unique tourist attraction to younger generations to reflect soccer legacies of President George Weah and other famous athletes that will serve as model for the young ones, who aim to follow the same path.
Also speaking a representative from Diadora said the museum will also serve as a reminder of the contributions of many patriots from Liberia, as well as the celebration of the memory of the greatest King George Weah, for his immense contribution towards the nation.
“We are excited about Liberia, and we like to say thank you to George Weah for being a good partner to Diadora, and this museum will provide the legacies and good footpath to the younger generation, to be inspired by George Weah”, the Diadora representative said. Editing by Jonathan Browne