Monday Sep 16, 2019. 10:00
Sweden-born Seth Hellberg says his decision to commit his future to Liberia was influenced by the country’s president and one of Africa’s greatest footballers, George Weah.
Hellborg, 24, made his Liberia debut in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone, having been selected by new coach Peter Butler.
It follows a strong season with Brage in the Swedish league, where he has tended to yo-yo between the top two divisions in his career.
“I feel amazing. It was a dream come true to play for Liberia,” Hellberg told BBC Sport. “I have been in Sweden all my life and I was raised by my mum like a Liberian.
“So I always feel like a Liberian. I first came to Liberia in 2008 and 2013. I feel closer to the people here than in Sweden.”
He admits that having an icon like Weah associated with the side was a big pull for him.
“The name George Weah was a big influence and factor so I didn’t hesitate when Liberian Football Association executive Henry Flomo approached me in Sweden and came over to see me play for my club.
“Weah has done so much for Liberia on the pitch and any aspiring footballer, especially from Liberia, will want to follow his footsteps.”
Butler was delighted with the contribution of Hellberg and says the future is bright for the side with a number of new young players in the squad.
“Seth had a fantastic performance over two legs, especially playing in Africa for the first time. He did a great job for the team in attacking and defending,” Butler said.
“Oscar [Dorley] is 21. Allen [Njie] and [Mohammed] Sangare are just 20. So they were excellent in midfield and will play a major part together with other young players.”
Next up for Liberia is an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad next month.