Drogba, FIFA President Meet Weah In France
By Ian Tuckey
Didier Drogba and Kylian Mbappe met French president Emmanuel Macron and new Liberia chief president George Weah for a ‘working lunch’
Sporting superstars past and present gathered at the Elysee Palace in Paris to discuss a new fund for sport in Africa.
Former world player of the year Weah, 51 who played for Monaco, Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, has chosen France for his first trip outside his own continent.
And fellow African legend Drogba, 39, now with American club Phoenix Rising, added even more sporting gravitas to the occasion.
The Ivory Coast icon, who has scored 65 times in 104 internationals, launched his majestic career at Chelsea after a successful year with Ligue 1 Marseille.
And if Drogba represented the pinnacle of the oldest generation still playing, then 19-year-old Mbappe was there as one of the hottest new talents around the globe.
These big names heard ideas of how French developments aid could boost sporting opportunities in Africa.
And Macron meeting Weah so early in the Liberian president’s reign is due, at least in part to the Frenchman’s keenness to focus more on international links with smaller African nations.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino, French Football Association supremo Noël Le Graet and Fifa boss Gianni Infantino were also at the meeting.
All of them posed with Weah and Macron outside the presidential palace for a family photo.
Weah has a powerful reputation in France, where many fans know him as “Monsieur George” .
And a former French ambassador told last week’s Journal du Dimanche: “George is French in heart and spirit.”
An Elysee spokesperson said the visit was dedicated to “the challenges facing Liberia, especially economic growth and youth employment.
“The role of sport as a factor of development in Africa… will also be an axis of trade.”
Weah, though, will hope for more than just talk on his four-day French visit, as many African nations are desperately poor.