Plans are afoot to welcome The Gambia’s acclaimed international referee, who made history earlier this year after being voted the ‘Best African Referee of the Year 2014’, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) announced Wednesday.
Bakary Papa Gassama, who officiated at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil last year and won the Confederation of African Football award during the Glo-Awards in Lagos, Nigeria, is expected back in the country at the end of the African Cup of Nations Finals in Equatorial Guinea. “The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) is pleased to announce that it will formally organise a welcoming ceremony for its Referee, Bakary Papa Gassama, who is currently in Equatorial Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations Finals,” affirmed a release copied to Afrope.se Banjul correspondent.
“While acclaiming his contribution in African and World Football, the GFF executive, therefore, deems it fitting to give Papa a befitting and gracious welcoming ceremony. The welcoming ceremony will be coordinated by a sub-committee set up by the GFF, headed by Second Vice President Mr. Ebou Faye. The general public, loved ones, friends and well-wishers of Bakary Papa Gassama and all Football and sports lovers are urged to turn out en-mass for the welcoming formalities”.
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.