Weah blasts African football authorities

JOHANNESBURG - George Weah, one of the most powerful and influential figures in African football and a former world player of the year, blasted national authorities for short-sighted, ignorant and selfish running of the sport.

Only Ghana of six African countries in the first finals to be held on the continent qualified past the opening group stage in South Africa and they were beaten on penalties by Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

"A lot of them don't have knowledge of the game, they don't have passion for it," he told reporters at a FIFA event on Monday. "African authorities don't believe in those people who work for them."

Liberian Weah said changing coaches just before the tournament, favouring foreigners over local managers, over-dependence on European-based players, and unfair pay structures favouring officials over sportsmen were hindering African football.

"Most of the coaches that brought a team, they've met the team three weeks, two months before. That's not enough to get to know the players," he said.

"It is about time we invested in our own coaches who'll live with the players ... not just paying coaches to come and make money, and two or three weeks after the competition, go back."

Citing his own past experience flying economy with Liberia, Weah said officials had no idea how to treat players.

"In Africa, players sit in economy class while officials go in business. That is wrong, that is bad for the game. They're going to play, they need to relax, not the officials."

Weah said the players who had most impressed him this year for club and country were Spain striker David Villa and Netherlands winger Arjen Robben.

The 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year predicted Germany would win the World Cup on Sunday.

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