35-year-old Gambian rising officiating star Bakary Papa Gassama has been appointed by CAF to take charge of the 30th African Cup of Nations' final match between Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. This was communicated by refereesfifa.blogspot.com.
Gambian Bakary Gassama (photo above) was a real discovery at AFCON 2012. The 1979 born official was very inexperienced then and did not handle important matches save some at minor CAF competitions. As a starting match, he was then assigned to take control over the hosting nation Gabon's decisive match against Morocco. Apart from one significant error without impact on the result, he showed a very concentrated and sophisticated performance, maybe the best of the entire competition. A quarterfinal followed where several crucial decisions were taken correctly, too. This was the starting shot for an already stunning career: just a few months after this tournament, he suddenly appeared on the pre-list for World Cup 2014, which he later attended as one of three African main referees.
It will probably stay the biggest mystery of the entire World Cup 2014 why Suisse FIFA Refereeing Officer Massimo Busacca has appointed Gassama for one match only. Having performed well in Netherlands - Chile, he would have been an option for more games. However, performing well was apparently a part of the criteria to be excluded from further assignments at this surely special World Cup in terms of refereeing. Instead, Algerian Djamel Haimoudi received four appointments and blew it in the end.
CAF has recognized the huge success and merit of Gassama and, following his nomination for the CAF Champions League final, honoured him as Africa's Best Referee in 2014.
At AFCON 2015, Gassama has already taken charge of the opener match between Equatorial Guinea and Congo Rep., where he definitely did not have his best evening. The two subsequent matches were much better (Congo DR - Tunisia and the quarterfinal between Algeria and Côte d'Ivoire). In Bata, Gassama will meet "Les Éléphants" again against Ghana. He will be supported by assistant referees from Senegal and Sudan: Djibril Camara, who was a standby official at World Cup 2014 (e.g. in Germany-Portugal) and Waleed Ahmed Ali will run the lines. Zambia's Janny Sikazwe has been chosen as the fourth official.
The 3rd place final will be refereed by Egyptian Ghead Grisha (above), supported by Nigerian Peter Edibe (who will have his last AFCON match there) and Burundi's Jean-Claude Birumushahu. Senegalese Malang Diedhiou will serve as the fourth official. For Grisha, it is his second 3rd place final of an AFCON edition in his career after Ghana's loss against Mali in 2012.
3RD PLACE: Saturday, 07 February 2015, 20:00 CET/WAT in Malabo
Equatorial Guinea - DR Congo
Referee: Ghead Grisha (Egypt)
Assistant Referee 1: Peter Edibe (Nigeria)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (Burundi)
Fourth Official: Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)
FINAL: Sunday, 08 February 2015, 20:00 CET/WAT in Bata
Côte d'Ivoire - Ghana
Referee: Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (Senegal)
Assistant Referee 2: Waleed Ahmed Ali (Sudan)
Fourth Official: Janny Sikazwe (Zambia)