- Renowned The Gambia referee, Bakary Papa Gassama has declared his retirement from international football
- The 44-year-old has refereed at two World Cups and several Africa Cups of Nations
- Gassama will now dedicate his time to training the younger generation of referees in and out of Gambia
Illustrious Gambian referee, Bakary Papa Gassama, has retired from international duties
The Gambia Football federation made this announcement on Thursday, December 21, 2023 on their social media platforms, recognizing the 44-year-old for his outstanding work in his 16-year career
“Multiple award-winning and celebrity referee Bakary Papa Gassama formally announced today that he’s hanging up his whistle. Gassama was a referee for nearly two decades and, as well as several African Cup of Nations, he’s also officiated in two separate World Cups finals.
Gassama, who has been a beacon of excellence in refereeing, has decided to step down to make way for the next generation of young referees to shine,” The federation wrote on Facebook.
Since joining FIFA’s elite panel in 2007, the 44-year-old went up to becoming a prominent referee in the world of football.
He began his career in The Gambia’s local leagues and then moved on to the African regional tournaments. Gassama was a regular at the CAF competitions, officiating finals and semi-final games of the Africa cup of nations. He has also worked in the CAF Champions League and CAF cup.
Gassama’s international appearances include; the last three FIFA World Cups in Brazil, Russia and Qatar, the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Final between Germany and Chile, just to name a few.
Despite his resignation, this native of Memmeh will remain involved in football by officiating the GFF domestic league until the end of the 2023/2024 season. His mentorship and experience will greatly benefit the future referees in the Gambia.
“As Gassama’s international career draws to a close, he leaves behind a legacy of integrity and professionalism. His decision to retire is driven by a desire to provide opportunities for younger referees to emerge and gain visibility on the global stage.
While stepping away aside from international duties, Mr. Gassama has committed to continuing his involvement in football by contributing to the GFF domestic league Division One for the remainder of the 2023/24 season. His experience and mentorship will undoubtedly be invaluable to the development of upcoming referees in the Gambia,” The federation concluded.
Bakary Gassama has had his fair share of controversial moments, like in the match of Algeria Against Cameroon for the 2022 world cup qualifiers. However , the continent will remember him as one of the refereeing greats to have graced the refereeing scene.
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