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Gambian Referee Papa Gassama in Olympics 2012

Apr 23, 2012, 3:40 PM

Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama is part of 84 officials appointed by FIFA for the London 2012 Olympic Football tournament.

Papa is part of two central referees from Africa; the other is Tunisia Jedidi Slim, who is also making the list from CAF.

Papa, who born on 2 February 1979, is one of Gambia’s outstanding referees who have officiated high profile matches in the sub-region and the continent.

The Gambia’s international FIFA and CAF referee will in less than 100 days feature in the London 2012 Olympic Games for the first time.

Papa Bakary Gassama, who has been participating in international competitions for The Gambia in football, has taken the lead in Africa to officiate the London 2012 football games.

It would be recalled that he took part in the just concluded Caf Nations Cup up to semi-final but could not feature in the final because of certain reasons.

He however played most of the crucial games of the tournament, which made him to be later nominated among the 5 top referees to officiate in the upcoming World Cup matches.

Four other African assistant referees - Damoo Jason Joseph from Seychelles, Eritrea’s Ogbamariam Angeson, Egypt’s Hassan Sheriff and Tunisia’s Hassani Bechir - were also named as part of the officials.

The FIFA Referees Committee under the chairmanship of Ángel María Villar Llona has confirmed the appointment of 84 officials from 36 countries to officiate at the Olympic Football Tournaments in London 2012.

For the men’s competition, 16 referees and 32 assistant referees have been selected from FIFA’s six Confederations, whilst for the women’s tournament, 12 referees and 24 assistant referees will be on duty, according to FIFA.com.

For the men, the London 2012 represents the first step on the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Massimo Busacca, head of FIFA Refereeing, explained the concept behind the selection of the officials, having himself refereed at two FIFA World Cups: Euro 2008, and the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final.

“The FIFA Refereeing team works just like the technical staff of a national football team, and we are the Head Coach,” said Busacca.

In addition, a team of technical instructors - former international referees - fitness instructors, physiotherapists and Sports Scientists (including from F-MARC), will regularly review the best referees before selecting the best possible officials for FIFA’s forthcoming competitions.

The final men’s Olympic berth will be decided on Monday evening when Oman take on Senegal in a play-off at Coventry City.

England’s Howard Webb will take charge of this match, with his assistants Stephen Child and Mike Mullarkey. Martin Atkinson is the fourth official.