AFCON Reveals Why Controversial Referee Ended Match Before Time

Referee Janny Sikazwe during the AFCON clash between Mali and Tunisia, January 11th 2021

Janny Sikazwe, the referee at the centre of the controversial Africa Cup of Nations clash between Tunisia and Mali on Wednesday,January 12, was said to have been suffering from heat stroke and severe dehydration.

Head of Referees at the Afcon Essam Abdel-Fatah, revealed that Sikazwe was taken to hospital after the match. 

Tunisia have appealed for the match to be replayed after Zambian official Janny Sikazwe blew the final whistle after just 85 minutes, then again at the 89th minute.

The teams were however called back by AFCON officials 35 minutes after the match was prematurely halted, but Tunisia refused as they were already recovering in ice baths.

AFCON's head of referees has defended the performance of Sikazwe by insisting he was suffering from the effects of the 34-degree heat level and 65 per cent humidity in Limbe, Cameroon.

“The referee suffered from heat stroke and very severe dehydration, which led to him losing focus and was taken to the hospital.

“It caused him to lose time in the 80th minute, and he ended the match in the 85th minute. He returned after directions from the assistant staff and then returned to finish the match in the 89th minute.

'When the crisis occurred and the objections and control were lost in the match, the fourth referee was the one who was going to complete the match instead of Sikazwe, but one of the two teams refused,” Essam noted.

There were two penalties awarded in the second half, followed by two other incidents which required Sikazwe to check the pitchside monitor and five substitutions.

Many were expecting a lengthy period of stoppage-time in an incident-packed game, which ended with a 1-0 win to Mali.