Referee Bakary Papa Gassama was honoured at a reception to bid him farewell to
the World Cup Russia 2018 where he will make his second consecutive appearance
at a FIFA World Cup event in the summer.
The Cocktail reception was held at the Football Hotel in Yundum presided over by GFF President Lamin Kaba Bajo. President Bajo hailed Papa as the most decorated Gambian Referee of all time having won the African Referee of The Year three times on the trot and played Total Africa Cup of Nations Final, CAF Champions League Final, FIFA Club World Cup matches and other Inter Club Competitions across Africa amongst many other premier assignments and titles across Africa and the world.
‘The Standard of refereeing in The Gambia is growing steadily hence the feat acquired by Papa because if football is not developing well, refereeing will not also be doing well’. Mr Bajo said the GFF has promised refereeing as a very important catalyst to developing football in The Gambia and that under his leadership, the refereeing sector will be given all the priorities it deserves. He however challenged the referees and referees committee to live up to expectation and step up more to equal the feat of Bakary Papa Gassama.
‘I challenge you to also come up well so that there is more representation from The Gambia just as in other countries. By now, Papa should be going with his Gambian team to officiate matches and that is what CAF is advocating for.’
Papa will be making his second appearance at FIFA World Cup after he made his debut at the 2014 edition in Brazil shortly after being voted African Referee of the Year by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) which he eventually won on three straight counts. He is expected to leave over the coming week to Russia.
GFF 3rd Vice President Martin Gomez, Executive Committee Members Bakary K. Jammeh, Mamlisa Camara and Sainabou Cham attended the farewell dinner. Also in attendance were members of the Gambia Referees Committee and FIFA Elite Referees and a cross section of football stakeholders. GFF General Secretary Lamin M. Jassey chaired the occasion.