Football referee Papa Bakary Gassama has been speaking to Sports Journalist
Alieu Ceesay about his selection by the world football governing body, Fifa to
officiate at the 2018 Summer World Cup in Russia. Gassama will be officiating
his second consecutive World Cup- the first in Brazil 2014.
He is one of the best referees Africa has at the moment and has officiated crucial games across the continent, earning the admiration and respect of people. “It was a very good mood for me, friends, family and the entire country. I thank God for being selected for the second consecutive time,” he reacted in an interview.
The journey, Gassama said has not been an easy one and requires a lot for one to appear in two consecutive World Cups adding that he has been working hard to maintain performance, fitness and training level.
He attributed dedication and hard work as the stamina the has kept him going for the past years as the game is changing.
Gassama, who trains with his fellow Gambian referees at the FIFA Goal Project in Yundum said he was inspired to take up refereeing because of the passion he has for the whistle. Like many others, Gassama said there were times when he felt discouraged due to assault and abusive languages used against him during local community football tournaments commonly known as Nawettan.
The two-time Sports Personality Award Winner of the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) advised aspiring young referees to stay focused and work hard. “I am very confident that this country can produce more Papa Gassamas and even better than Papa.”
Gassama won the CAF Referee Award three times in a row and he was thankful to all those who supported him but said one individual he will never forget is the late Alhaji Omar Sey.