…Game kicks off 5pm
FOOTBALL’S world ruling body, FIFA, has appointed respected Gambian official Bakary Papa Gassama as referee for next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Algeria, scheduled for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. The Matchday 2 encounter between two of the fiercest rivals in African football will see Jean-Claude Birumushahu from Burundi as assistant referee 1, Marwa Range from Kenya as assistant referee 2 and Gassama’s compatriot, Maudo Jallow as fourth official. FIFA has also appointed Jean-Olivier Mbera from Gabon as referee assessor, Ghanaian Anthony Baffoeas match commissioner and Nicholas Chumba Musonye from Kenya as security officer. Gassama, 37, and who has been an international referee since 2008, is one of the most respected referees in Africa. He has already been appointed as referee for this year’s CAF Champions League final, second leg clash between Zamalek of Egypt and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, taking place in Alexandria on Sunday, 23rd October. Birumushahu and Range will also be part of the officiating crew for that match, at which Nigeria’s Paul Bassey will serve as General Coordinator. Group B leaders Nigeria welcome the Fennecs to the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Saturday, 12th November in one of the most anticipated matches of Matchday 2 of the African qualifying race. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation has won a protest it quietly launched following the release of the official match appointment, which set the kick –off time at 5.30pm. “The information we sent to FIFA was that we wanted the match to start at 5pm; we were surprised when the match appointment was released and the kick –off time was set at 5.30pm. The NFF immediately protested and eventually, on Wednesday morning, FIFA agreed that the match will start at 5pm,” NFF’s Director of Competitions, Bola Oyeyode, revealed.