By Bakary Ceesay
The three times Conferderation of Africa Football (CAF) Referee of the year Gambian born Bakary Papa Gassama is among the list of CAF prefered short list of Referees for the forth coming CHAN tournament in Cameroon 2020. Gassama top the merit list of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) for the 6th edition of the Championships.
Among the list of Referees and Assistant Referees is Abdul Azziz Bolel Jawo (Asst Ref) who is also on the CAF merit list nominated as Assistant Referee for the Championship. Both Gassama and Bolel are currently in Cairo, Egypt at the invitation of the Continental body for a preparatory Course organized by CAF ahead of the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN), Cameroon 2020.
Gambia’s highest standing performer and Africa’s finest Referee Bakary Papa Gassama will be part of the panel on Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) while Abdul Azziz Bolel Jawo joins his colleagues as Assistant Referee. The course will be on theoretical and practical basis. The first session of the Course on Tuesday 4th February 2020 was a fitness test in which both Gassama and Bolel made the cut to the next stage.
The final tournament of the sixth edition of the CHAN competition designed exclusively for players featuring in their domestic leagues will be held from 4th -25th April 2020 in the cities of Yaounde, Garoua, Douala and Limbe. Meanwhile, the draw for the final tournament has been fixed for Monday, 17th February 2020, at Palais Polyvalent Des Sports de Yaoundé in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, at 19:00hrs local time.
Bakary Papa Gassama was born 10 February 1979 in Memeh village in the North Bank Region. He started refreeing in 2003 and became a FIFA badge holder in 2007. Gassama began to officiate matches at the Gambia League Championships until in 2012 when he was appointed to the Olympic Tournament in which he was 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.
In March 2013, FIFA named Gassama as one of the fifty potential referees for the 2014 World Cup. On 15 January 2014, FIFA announced that he would be one of the 25 referees for the tournament. He was assisted by Evarist Menkouandé and Felicien Kabanda. Gassama officiated the 3rd stage Match in Group B between the Netherlands and Chile. At the continental front, he also officiated the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Final between Ghana and Cote D Ivoire.
On 27 April 2017, Gassama was selected as CAF’s sole Referee for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Final in Russia. He was assisted by Claude Birumushahu of Burundi and Marwa Range from Kenya while his Video Assistant was Malang Diedhiou of Senegal. He officiated the Group A Match between Mexico and New Zealand.
Gassama continued with his panel of Referees when FIFA nominted him further to officaited some matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Gassama won the CAF Referee of the Year three times on the trot. 2014, 2015, 2016