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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Introducing (Bakary Papa Gassama)

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The 36-year old Gambian referee has raised the Gambian flag high at high-profile continental and global football events and has been duly recognised by the top echelons of football for his hard work, professionalism, commitment and fitness in refereeing. He is the pride of The Gambia.


When did he start refereeing?

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The young and sociable man best known as Gambia’s finest Africa’s best started his refereeing career in 2003 officiating Nawettan, female league, second division games before his big break to the top.


When did he earn the FIFA badge?

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The Gambian referee became a FIFA referee in 2007, when he officiated at the 2012 Olympic Games. Then, he served as the fourth official for the gold medal match between Mexico and Brazil. He also served as a referee at the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, as well as the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.


Was his name put into records?

Yes, in 2013 the FIFA named him as one of the fifty potential referees at the World Cup 2014 and announced that he would be one of the 25 referees on the tournament. He officiated the Netherlands and Chile game as well as the Africa Cup of Nations final in 2015 between Ghana and the Ivory Coast.


His records include

The 2012 London Olympics, 2013 Fifa Under- 20 World Cup in Turkey, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and a hat trick of African Cup of Nations from 2012, 2013 and the just concluded 2015 championship in Equatorial Guinea, where he presided over the opening game and the final and was eventually named as the Best Referee of Africa at the Caf awards ceremony in Lagos in 2014.


Best quote

 “I remember The Gambia anytime I pick that whistle to officiate in any match. My president has told me, go there and preserve The Gambia’s name by maintaining honesty and integrity. Remember once you lose your credibility no money can buy it again.”


Words by Sise Sawaneh


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