Teenage Referee Urged to Emulate Gambian Great Papa Gassama

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By Momodou Jarju

There is a rising teenage referee in The Gambia. His name: Muhammed Sanneh. His prowess has caught the eyes of many. And he is not oblivious of this fact as he continues to deliver whenever he takes center stage to officiate a football match.

Muhammed, 17, was among seven central referees and 12 assistant referees selected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to officiate in the maiden edition of the CAF Pan African U-15 school football championship in Durban, South Africa. The tournament was held last week. Before the continent’s contest, Muhammed—a student of Charles Jow Memorial Acadmy—officiated the WAFU Zone A qualifiers in Cape Verde.     

His father must be a proud man! In fact, on Tuesday, Muhammed’s father and the executive members of The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) Refereeing Committee paid a courtesy call on the GFF President Lamin Kaba Bajo in his office.

There, Muhammed presented his certificate and medal he won at the aforesaid championship in South Africa to President Bajo. Gracing the occasion included GFF Referee’s Manager Seedy Manneh, Refereeing Committee members Assan Cham, Madiba Singhateh, Ablie Sowe and Baboucarr Jallow.

President Bajo commended the young prodigy while urging him to emulate the country’s venerated central referee Bakary Papa Gassama (Papa is Gambian elite referee who became the first African referee to officiate in three World Cup tournaments in a row. He holds the record winner of the best African referee award three times in a row.).

Bajo also assured Muhammed of his executive’s resolve to continue creating the enabling environment for him and others to excel. Mr Bajo further advised Muhammed’s father to take good care of the kid in helping him manage his career.

“The GFF boss also presented him with a pair of referee’s cards – Yellow/Red as an encouragement to keep the good job and stay focused to enable him attain his ambition of becoming an internationally renowned referee of Papa Gassama’s caliber,” GFF media stated.

“Mr. Bajo further expressed his joy and pride amongst his colleagues during the recently concluded CAF African School Football Championship Finals, where he received congratulations from his colleagues on Sanneh’s exceptional performance during both the competition and the zonal qualifiers.”