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World Cup 2022: Belmadi 'didn't like to see' Gassama after Algeria, Cameroon match

7:33 PM GMT+4 25/04/2022
Djamel Belmadi Algeria
The former midfielder believes the African continent needs to invest in officiating to ensure the standards improve

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has opened up on his anger towards referee Bakary Gassama's decision-making, to the point that he did not want to see the official again.

The Gambian was in charge of the second leg of the Fifa World Cup qualifier between Algeria and Cameroon played on March 29. Having won the first leg away by a solitary goal, the North Africans were favourites to advance, considering they were playing the reverse fixture in front of their home fans.

However, the Indomitable Lions put up a brave fight to win the second leg 2-1 and qualify on the away goal rule. Gassama was accused of making wrong calls by the former Africa Cup of Nations champions, who even went further and complained to Fifa demanding a replay.

The world football governing body did not yield to Algeria's pressure and Cameroon was granted a spot in the global competition to be held in Qatar later this year.

"I didn't like to see him [Bakary Gassama] sitting comfortably in our living rooms, drinking coffee, eating a millefeuille," Belmadi told FAF TV.

"I met him in Turkey and I told him who he was... never again, we will not let two, three people conspire against our country, never again a referee to harm our country.

"When I tell you that I have cried wolf at the referee for three years by real facts, which is not in my habits at the base, neither as a player nor as a coach."

Belmadi went on to suggest Africa has a massive problem when it comes to officiating matches.

"It is a disaster in Africa. In our country, we have to fix the refereeing and the infrastructures, the leaders should have been interested in that. If there are fields and stadiums that are built here and there, the level of refereeing is still very far from the high level," the 46-year-old continued.

"For me, we are, and the whole continent included, in the prehistoric age of refereeing. Wanted, not wanted, do they want to fix it or not, does it suit some or not at Fifa, I don't know, but whoever wants to talk about it with me, come and see.

"I worked in Asia, I worked in Europe as a player. In Europe, we are approaching the zero error level, especially with the VAR.

"In Asia, I have done preliminary seminars for our competitions and, when you leave the meeting, you have the impression that you, a man of integrity, are going to have something happen to you because they are so sharp, assiduous and demanding.

"There, if you hear, see, or are involved, it's prison and expulsion from soccer for life.

"In Africa, we are far away, when we arrive in these competitions, in such an important match, it is simply a deal."

Other teams that will represent the continent at the World Cup are the 2021 Afcon champions Senegal, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia.