AFCON 2019: CAF names officials for Nigeria, Algeria semi-final

AFCON: Bakary Papa Gassama from the Gambia (2nd from right)
AFCON: Bakary Papa Gassama from the Gambia (2nd from right)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Referees’ Appointment Committee has confirmed the appointment of Bakary Papa Gassama from The Gambia as the centre referee for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final between Algeria and Nigeria on Sunday at the Cairo International Stadium.

The 40-year-old FIFA badge referee is widely regarded as one of the best referees on the continent and was among the few Africans selected for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

While Gassama has handled several games involving Nigeria’s Super Eagles, one of the recent ones that come to mind is the AFCON qualifiers away to South Africa in Johannesburg.

In that game, Nigeria was allegedly denied two well-taken goals but the 1-1 scoreline at the end of that match was enough to seal the Eagles’ qualification for Afcon 2019 even with a game to spare.

For Sunday’s game, Gassama will be assisted by El Hadji Malick Samba from Senegal and Seydou Tiama from Burkina Faso as Assistant Referee one and two respectively, while Victor Gomes from South Africa will serve as a fourth official and Issa Yaya from Chad will be the fifth official.

CAF have also confirmed the Video Assistant Referees (VAR) Referees appointments. Pol Van Boekel from the Netherlands will lead the VAR officials alongside Janny Sikazwe from Zambia and Zakhele Siwela from South Africa as assistants.

Nigeria and Algeria will clash for the 21st time at senior men’s level on Sunday night in an AFCON 2019 semi-final encounter that promises lots of fireworks.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa has been appointed to officiate the second semi-final game between Senegal and Tunisia.

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