Gambian international referee Papa Bakary Gassama participates in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament through a CAF –CONCACAF exchange agreement.
Papa Bakary Gassama—who is Africa’s best referee, officiated his first match on Monday 12th July 2021, which was between Jamaica and Suriname, assisted by Senegal’s Djibril Camara and Canada’s Micheal Barwegen.
Papa Gassama’s participation with other African referees is exceptional. It is “not often the case that a referee from another continent is invited to participate in the continents showpiece events where his originating continents, not a member of,” wrote the Gambia football federation.
With an international history of officiating matches, this is not the first time the Gambian refer is on the global pitch. Gassama officiated the AFCON finals multiple times. Also, the last two FIFA world cups in Brazil in 2014 and Russia 2018, respectively. Papa Bakary Gassama—was also the only African representative at the 2017 confederations cup.
The Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football—is a biannual tournament with a 41-member association representing countries mainly in North America, including the Caribbean and Central America. Previous winners of the tournament include the U.S.A and Mexico.