Gambian Referee participates in FIFA World Cup 2014 - Be Proud Gambia!
History will be made in Brazil this summer as referee Bakary Papa Gassama is expected to become the first Gambian to participate at a senior FIFA World Cup from June 12th to July 13th in Brazil. The world football governing body has selected the Gambian as one of the 25 referees who will officiate at the global football event.
The Gambia has participated in the U-20 World Cup once and twice at the U-17 World Cup and the women U-17 World Cup but no Gambian has ever before participated at a senior FIFA organized competition. Papa was shortlisted for the 2013 CAF Referee of the Year and despite his failure to win, he has still made history by becoming the first Gambian ever to be shortlisted for an award by the continent’s football governing body. Presently regarded as one of the best referees in the continent, he officiated at the 2012 and 2013 African Cup of Nations as well as several 2014 World Cup qualifying games, including the playoff and the 2013 Club World Cup in Morocco. Gassama became a FIFA referee in 2007 and three years later officiated at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. He also officiated at the 2012 Olympic tournament, in which he was the fourth official for the gold medal match between Mexico and Brazil. The 34-year-old Gambian was also the referee for the second leg of the 2013 CAF champions’ league final clash between South Africa’s Orlando Pirates and eventual champions Al Ahly of Egypt.
The Gambian is among three African referees that have been selected by the FIFA Referees Committee meeting in Zurich.