Gambian international referee, Bakary Papa Gassama, who officiated at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil last year, is the 2014 African Referee of the Year, the Confederation of African Football announced Thursday at its Glo-Awards in Lagos, Nigeria.
Gassama, a career referee who continue to register successes in global football, was declared the favourite over Algerian Djamal Haimoudi, who was decorated for the same award last year.
Reacting to the award, the president of the Gambia Football Federation, Lamin Kaba Bajo, praised Gassama – who will later this year participate in his fourth consécutive African Cup of Nations finals – for his monumental success and described the accolade as a pride for the nation.
Gassama came to prominence in 2007 when he was appointed by the global football governing body as its referee. Since then, he has officiated in numerous high-level international games. Chief among them was African Champions League final last year; the 2013 decider between Al Ahly from Egypt and Orlando Pirates from South Africa; refereed in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup earlier this month and so on.
Gassama was also voted as one of the seven best referees by Fifa’s Referees Committee at 2014 Summer World Cup in Brazil.