the Gassama affair in three points

FIFA must examine this Thursday, April 21 the appeal brought by the FAF against Bakary Gassama, the referee of the Algeria-Cameroon match. Back on this case in three points.

On March 29, Algeria hosted Cameroon in the second leg of the 2022 World Cup play-offs. Building on their success in Douala with a score of one goal to zero, the Greens intended to confirm at Tchaker, their legendary stadium where they had never lost.

With the advantage of the away goal, the mission seemed within reach of Djamel Belmadi’s players. Everything comes together for a big party. The Tchaker stadium in Blida, a symbol of EN’s success, was filled with Algerian supporters, many of whom came from far away and spent the night in Blida.

| Read also: Algeria-Cameroon: Has Gassama been corrupt?

1-Disillusionment

At 22′, it’s a cold shower. Against the run of play, Cameroon scores its first goal by Choupo-Moting who takes over with the right foot, a ball poorly cleared by the Algerian defense.

This action was marred by a flagrant foul first on Aissa Mandi who hampered the intervention of Algerian goalkeeper Rais M’bolhi. Despite the protests of the Algerian players, the referee Bakary Gassama validates the goal. The tone is set. The fears of biased arbitration are confirmed.

Cameroon is thus back in the race for qualification. Everything has to be done again for Algeria who must score to pass. The match ended 1-0 in favor of Cameroon at the end of regulation time. Time for overtime. At 98′, Islam Slimani won in the air against two Cameroonian opponents. After consulting the VAR, the referee Bakary Gassama invalidates the goal for lack of hand.

But Algeria continues to push. At 118′, defender Ahmed Touba equalized with an unstoppable header and put Algeria back on the path to the World Cup. In the stands, it is the explosion of joy. The Greens have come a long way, but the hardest part is yet to come. Referee Gassama adds four minutes of added time.

While the Algerians celebrate qualification in the stands, Toko Ekambi takes advantage of the confusion and scores Cameroon’s winning goal. Shock and disbelief among Algerians. The dream of the world evaporates.

2-Algeria seizes FIFA against Gassama

The final whistle was to be the start of a soap opera which could have its epilogue this Thursday, April 21, with the examination of the appeal lodged Thursday, March 31, by the Algerian Football Federation (FAF) against the referee Gassama and his errors of judgment which influenced the final result of the match.

We submitted a case. We have requested an investigation by FIFA into technical aspects during the match which had an influence on the result. There is evidence that the arbitration was not neutral and honest said FAF boss Charaf-Eddine Amara on April 6.

The file of the Algerian federal authority includes videos of the disputed actions which could have proved to the advantage of Algeria. In the wake of the complaint lodged by the Algerian Federation against Gassama, more and more voices are calling for the match to be replayed. But Amara does not seem optimal as to the outcome of the appeal against Gassama.

Above all, we must not give false hopes to Algerian supporters and promise them things that may not come true. “, he said, calling to turn the page on the elimination of the world and to look to the future. But that does not seem to curb the enthusiasm of Algerian fans to dream of another match. On Wednesday, groups of supporters based in Europe observed a rally outside FIFA headquarters in Switzerland to challenge Gassama’s refereeing.

3-African arbitration in turmoil

Since the meeting of Algeria and Cameroon and the disputed arbitration of Bakary Gassama, two episodes have further tarnished African arbitration, one of which involved the Gambian referee.

It was during two matches (first leg) of the African Champions League qualifiers, which took place on April 16. During the match between Raja of Casablanca (Morocco) and Al Ahly of Cairo, an imaginary penalty was whistled in favor of the Egyptian club which was playing at home. Moroccans cried foul and complained to CAF and FIFA.

The second act took place during the match between Congolese club Petro Atletico against South Africans Mamelodi Sundowns. Zambian referee, Janny Sikazwe, did not award a penalty to Petro Atletico for a blatant handball on a South African player in his box. Notable fact: the highly contested Gambian Bakary Gassama was in charge of the VAR.

These two episodes revive the debate on African arbitration and its slippages which continue to taint African football, and prevent it from rising to the world level. It is no coincidence that no African selection has ever managed to win the World Cup.

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