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Papa Gassama favourite to win CAF award

Jan 9, 2014, 9:59 AM

Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama has emerged as the favourite to win the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Referee of the Year award, which will be revealed in a gala ceremony in Lagos on Thursday, 9 January.

The Gambian was shortlisted as one of the three candidates for the award. Cameroonian Alioum Neant and Haimoudi Djamel of Algeria are the two others.

When contacted by Observer Sports whether he would be attending the CAF award gala at the weekend, Gassama revealed that it is the winners that normally attend and as of the time of the call, he was not notified of anything as such.

However, analysts believe the Gambian will collect the award, after yet another remarkable twelve months’ display in the continental football calendar for the young referee, officiating most of the biggest game in 2013.

It was another milestone in the short, but an illuminating career of Gassama at the global stage, when last month he officiated the semifinal game between the European and Asian champions at Stade d’Agadir in the Club World Cup in Morocco.

Papa, presently regarded as the best referee in the continent, in fact officiated twice in the tournament, having overseen the qualifying game between Raja Casablanca and Auckland City.

Gassama became a FIFA referee in 2007 and three years later officiated at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. He also officiated at the 2012 Olympic tournament, in which he was the fourth official for the gold medal match between Mexico and Brazil.

He also served as a referee at the 2012 and 2013 African Cup of Nations tournaments, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

He was named by world football governing body, FIFA, as the official in charge of Nigeria’s deciding World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in Calabar in November last year.

Gassama has also officiated several more high-profile qualifying matches. The 36-year-old Gambian was also the referee for the second leg of the 2013 CAF champions’ league final clash between South Africa’s Orlando Pirates and eventual champions Al Ahly of Egypt.

The Gambian has been shortlisted among the 25 most renowned referees on the continent for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Source Daily Observer