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WC Qualification Africa

Gassama: Gambia defend referee following criticism from Algeria after Cameroon World Cup qualifier

7:08 PM WAT 27/04/2022
Bakary Gassama.
The official oversaw the match between the North African nation and the Indomitable Lions in late March

The Gambia have come to the defence of Bakary Papa Gassama following what it alleges are constant criticism from Algeria.

After losing 2-1 to Cameroon in the return leg in Blida, Algeria requested Fifa that their World Cup qualification playoff against the Indomitable Lions be replayed because of 'scandalous refereeing'.

Gassama has since been unnecessarily criticised, according to the Gambian federation, who said it has lodged a complaint over the matter.

"The Gambia Football Federation wishes to inform its stakeholders and the general public that it has been following with grave concern the sustained verbal attacks launched against the person of Fifa Gambian referee, Mr. Bakary Papa Gassama, by Algerian nationals through the various forms of media, ever since he officiated Algeria’s 2-1 home defeat to Cameroon in the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers played on the 29th March, 2022," the FA said in a statement.

The GFF now wants the concerned authorities to investigate the matter and take action against the people it claims have unduly criticised the official.

"The Federation has lodged a formal complaint to the Algerian Football Federation on the matter, and has formally requested Fifa and Caf to open investigations and disciplinary proceedings against the head coach of the Algeria national football team, Mr. Djamel Belmadi, for his remarks on a video clip and on Algerian television," it added.

"Based on the foregoing, we’ve also asked the Algerian federation to make a public statement condemning the actions of Mr. Belmadi and all the verbal attacks against Mr. Gassama by Algerians and take all necessary precautions to restrain their officials and nationals from making any further negative remarks and threats against the person of Mr. Gassama.

"Otherwise, their federation will be held responsible and complicit for any harm that may happen to him.

"In conclusion, the GFF wishes to assure that they are in constant contact with Papa, and that all security precautions are in place to keep him away from harm’s way when he returns home from an overseas assignment."

Despite enjoying a 1-0 first-leg win, Algeria failed to see off the Central Africans in the decisive World Cup playoff that stretched into extra time, and they ultimately lost on the away goal rule.