There will be no Gambian referee on duty at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivorie if the list of the Confederation of African Football released Monday is anything to go by.
Between 13 January and 11 February 2024, a total of 24 nations will lock horns for African football most coveted prize. Caf have released a list of referees for the competition who will undergo a preparatory course for the Afcon next year.
The selected are referees are from Algeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo, Mali, Chad, Mauritius, Burundi, Djibouti, Lesotho, Somali, Benin Republic, Madagascar, Sao Tome and Principe, and other countries in Africa.
In total, 32 referees and 33 assistant referees were invited for the tournament, and VAR officials, making a total of 85 officials set for a referees course ahead of the tournament.
Four Video Assistant Referees (VAR) from Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, and Mauritius were also invited for the preparation course.
The Gambian football fraternity is struggling to come to terms with the apparent exclusion of the country’s referees from the list of officials called by Caf for training ahead of Afcon.
A highly placed source said this is the first time in decades that Gambian referees are not called for action at Afcon tournament.
The country won the best African referee award three times in a row.
The Standard contacted Seedy Manneh the head of Gambia football federation’s referees body who said he is a bit surprised about the absence of Gambian referees in the list.
“We are aware of it as a federation and would be making engagement with Caf to know what had happened. If you give us a little bit of time we would be able to come with definitive position on the matter,” Manneh said.