By Awa Gassama

Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama has said negative criticisms don’t shake him because he has a strong personality.

He disclosed this in an interview after his return from Algeria where he officiated a tie breaking World Cup play-off between Algeria and Cameroon.


Following criticisms from the Algerians that the game wasn’t fair, Papa told The Standard that criticisms don’t shake him as it is part of refereeing and such kind of reaction is always expected from losing teams. “If they win you are the good referee and if they lose they label you as the bad referee,” he said.

Papa added that officiating big games is a big challenge but his experience helps him a lot.

It’s been revealed by Fifa that Papa is part of the preliminary list of eight referees selected from Africa for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.  When asked how he feels about the selection personally and for The Gambia, he said: “The nomination alone is a plus for the Gambia and I’m very happy with it and the final list will be out in June.

“I think I have managed my career enough and after my retirement, I don’t want to go into politics or anything related. I might likely work with Caf or Fifa,” Papa revealed.

He advised upcoming referees of The Gambia to read and understand the laws of the game, train hard, sacrifice their time for refereeing and respect football and its stakeholders. He said this will help them a lot to excel in their career, represent the country internationally and perform well like him.