Gassama: another arbitration that makes people talk

Bakary Gassama has once again been the author of an arbitration that has people talking. This time in South Africa, during the match between the Libyan representative, Al-Ahli Tripoli, and his South African counterpart, Orlando Pirates. The Libyans believe that the Gambian referee deprived their team of a valid penalty.

Despite his vicious refereeing during the Algeria-Cameroon match on March 29 in Blida, as part of the play-offs for the qualification of the next World Cup, in a case that has caused a lot of ink to flow, Bakary Gassama seems to have all the confidence of the CAF arbitration committee. The latter appointed him to officiate the match between Al-Ahli Tripoli and the Orlando Pirates, as part of the semi-final second leg of the African Confederation Cup, played yesterday at Orlando Stadium in South Africa.

But the Gambian international referee did not take care of his reputation. Indeed, he was once again the author of a vicious arbitration. During the first quarter of an hour of the match, a defender of the South African formation touched the ball with his hand in the penalty area, but Gassama refused to return to VAR to award a penalty to the Libyans and maintained his original decision. An action that could have been the turning point of the meeting, to the dismay of the Libyans who aspired to turn the tide on their opponent after losing the first leg in Tripoli by a score of two goals to nil.

Libyans call him a ‘traitor’

And yet, the Libyans Al-Ahli Tripoli challenged Bakary Gassama, especially after his scandalous refereeing during the Algeria-Cameroon match. They made a request to CAF to change him to another referee, but the first instance of African football kept him to officiate the said match.

The Tripoli club posted a virulent comment on the Gambian referee on its Facebook page, ironically qualifying Bakary Gassama as man of the match with this comment: “Thank you Mama Africa”. He also branded the Gambian a ‘traitor’ after depriving the club of a CAF final, confirming the fears management had expressed about him.

It should be noted that Bakary Gassama is expected to officiate the final of the African Champions League between the Egyptian representative, Al-Ahly of Cairo, to his Moroccan counterpart, Wydad of Casablanca. This proves that CAF still trusts the Gambian international referee, despite his bad reputation.

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