6 February 2013

Africa: Papa to Referee Afcon Semifinal

Gambian Bakary Papa Gassama has been appointed as the referee for today's semifinal clash between Nigeria and Mali at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

The Gambian has been tasked by the referees committee for the 29th edition of the continental showpiece event to be the centre man in the first game of the day at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Papa Gassama will be assisted on the sidelines by Angesom Ogbamariam of Eritrea and Felicien Kabanda of Rwanda. Egypt's Gehad Grisha will be the fourth official. Kick-off is at 3pm Gambian time.

Tunisia's Slim Jedidi will be the referee at the second semifinal game between Burkina Faso and Ghana at Nelspruit's Mbombela Stadium. He will be assisted by his compatriots Bechir Hassani and Anouar Hmila. Morocco's Bouchaib El Ahrach will be the fourth official in that game.

The 36-year-old Gassama was included in a 38-man officials list released by the Confederation of African Football in January 9th to officiate at this year's competition that will come to a close on Sunday. Papa, the country's top referee at the moment is also among the 12 Gambians listed as FIFA referees which include five referees and seven assistants.

It is the second time that Gassama is refereeing at an Africa Cup of Nations having participated at the 2012 edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. But the highest achievement of his refereeing career came last year when he refereed three matches at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Gassama was also the fourth official in the final match of the men's football final between Mexico and Brazil. He is now among the top 10 elite referees in Africa and among the best five to officiate in the Brazil World Cup in 2014.

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