Papa Gassama set for AFCON outing

Gambia and Africa’s best Bakary Papa Gassama has been named on the list of referees for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The 40-year-old is among 27 central referees that have been lined up for Africa’s top competition set to kick off on June 21 in Egypt.

Papa recently joined referees and assistant referees at a medical examination and fitness test seminar in Morocco where they were told on what matters and aspects of the game to concentrate during the tournament from June 21 to July 19.

They underwent intensive theoretical and practical sessions aimed at fine-tuning their readiness for the tournament set to take place in the Egyptian cities of Alexandria, Cairo, Ismailia and Suez.

The amended laws will apply at the tournament after the officials spent time on things which includes management of the defensive wall and tighter rules on handballs.

Officials also need to continue the Video Assistant Referees (VAR) training in order to be qualified by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to operate the technology during the tournament.

Gassama‚ who was in charge of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final in Equatorial Guinea‚ recently officiated the CAF Champions League 1st leg semi-final match between Espérance Sportive de Tunis and TP Mazembe of DR Congo. As per many online betting sites, the odds for teams to proceed to final are almost equal, so match should be interesting and exciting.

He was also among a host of referees who officiated at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017. The 2018 World Cup in Russia was also his second appearance at the tournament.

To date, the continent’s best referee has officiated 93 matches in total, issued 230 bookings and dashing out two straight red cards in the process.