Apr 11, 2012, 2:27 PM
Bakary Papa Gassama, Gambian CAF and FIFA Referee, has set his target to be part of the 33 match officials to be selected for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which every referee is aiming for.
Gassama was speaking to reporters in an interview at the Paradise Suites Hotel on Wednesday during the opening of a five-day FIFA MA Referees Training Course.
He noted that for now they are 53 in number, but 33 are expected to be selected in January 2014, and further called on everyone to pray for him so that he can be among the 33 match officials to be selected.
He appealed to Gambians to support and pray for him so that he can be there, pointing out that it would be very difficult, but by the grace of God everything is possible.
The Gambian top referee is being rated among the best FIFA referees in officiating international football, recently returned from Zurich, Switzerland, where he joined another top 52 referees across the world. He said it was very challenging for him to be among referees from developed nations.
“In refereeing now, even if you have everything in the world, what matters is what you do in the field of play; and the importance of fitness is paramount.”
“People are saying, Papa, but my assistants are also very good,” he went on, adding that “Papa alone cannot be a good referee”.
“If you see a good referee, their must be good assistants, and I have good assistants,” said the Gambian referee, who recently returned from a very crucial game between Niger and Guinea Conakry in the final rounds of the qualifiers for the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
“For me now, I can play any kind of game,” said Papa who received the “Best Referee of the Year” award by the Sports Journalists Association of The Gambia, on 1st September 2012.
He added that he should be on top of his fitness level, through preparation, being alert at all times now, because he can be called on at any time, since there are so many important matches coming.
He thanked God for officiating the Niger versus Guinea game without any major problem, further noting that in football it is very difficult to say there was no problem, but that their was no major incident to be blamed for.
The Gambian referee who also officiated a game during the London 2012 Olympic Games also took time to thank CAF and FIFA for organizing such an important course for them, noting that football now is very demanding and they need to upgrade themselves all the time.