Papa Bakary Gassama

By Angu Lesley

Football Writer,

Egyptian giants Al Ahly of Cairo have expressed their dissatisfaction about the choice of Gambian referee, Papa Bakary Gassama, as match official of their CAF Champions League semi final game against Wydad Casablanca in September in Douala.

The Egyptian Club feels its one-too-many with the experienced CAF match official. Gassama took charge of Ahly’s second leg quarterfinal 1-1 game against Mamelodi Sundowns in March this year.

“Gassama refereed our game against Mamelodi Sundowns Sundowns, how can he be named again? He is not the only referee on the continent,” Sayed Abdelhafid, Al Ahly’s Director of football is quoted by ‘Le 360 Sport’.

Its strange Al Ahly is questioning the appointment of a top referee on the continent for their fixture, simply because he was in charge of their game in the previous round. There is certainly more to this.

Refereeing controversies has never been an ingredient for growth in football.

Papa Bakary Gassama is a fine match official with 12 top CAF Club competitions games under his belt this season, but giving he was the same match official who took charge of last year’s controversial CAF Champions League Final game pitting Wydad Casablanca to Al Ahly doesn’t make work easier for him.

Le 360 Sport is quoted to have mentioned in one of its reports that Moroccans generally feel better when Papa Bakary Gassama is in charge of their games. Maybe because of successes in events like the CHAN 2018 final, the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers victory against Ivory Coast in 2017 and Wydad Athletic Club’s 2017 CAF Champions League Final game against Al Ahly.

With the early agitations even before CAF makes the list of officials public, it is only wise for CAF to discuss the option of another match official in place of Papa, if and only if he has been officially appointed to take charge of the game.

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