AFCON SPOTLIGHT: What Happened To Janny Sikazwe?
Bizarre scenes mar Tunisia vs Mali AFCON group F match
Jan 13, 2022
If you were short of entertainment on Jan 12, 2022, it was definitely because you didn't get to see the AFCON group F match between Tunisia and Mali. You asked why? Well, that game ended thrice, and that was not the only bizarre thing that happened that afternoon.
The game was played in the anglophone town of Limbe, a city in Western Cameron. Both teams came into the match with their fair share of AFCON experiences and with some bright oversea talents like Hannibal Mejbri of Manchester United in England, playing for Tunisia and Moussa Djenepo of Southampton also in England, playing for Mali.
It was in the hands of both teams to decide the winner of the contest up until the referee Janny Sikazwe intervened.
Not like Tunisia will blame the referee for the loss because he ensured that he handed both sides a decent portion of the controversy.
He started with a penalty to both sides, not that there was much to argue given they were goal scoring opportunities for viewing pleasure. Ellyes Skhiri was adjudged to have had his hand in the way with his back turned to a Kiri Kouyate's shot. Then, Mali took their chance with Kone scoring from the spot.
A while later, it was Moussa Djenepo who almost got away with a hand ball in his area. VAR intervened and the referee listened. Tunisia however let Mali go unpunished as Khazri failed to convert from 12 yards. Few minutes later, the world was shocked.
Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe blew the final whistle to end the game in the 85th minute!
Even VAR could not believe it. The CAF officials neither and the referee was called to order the first time. VAR checked and informed that there was still time. Sikazwe would listen to his video assistant one last time.
Then came on a malian substitute - E. Toure. He made a challenge on a Tunisian player but he was neither on the ground nor challenging with both feet. Sikazwe brandished a red card straight out of his rear pockets. VAR checked the incident and advised otherwise but Sikazwe had had enough assistance for the afternoon.
Toure ended the match outside the pitch only that his was not the worst scenario on the evening. In the 90th minute, with about 17 seconds remaining of regulation time, Sikazwe ended the match the second time.
Tunisian coaches were furious. Fracas ensued and security had to form a wall around the referees. Everybody including Sikazwe seemed dazed and none could fathom how a football match would be ended twice before 90 mins.
It's difficult to cry match fixing because both teams were given a helping hand at some point by the controversy and both had golden opportunities from the spot. It was a game of taking the most chances while the referee was still in the mood.
The game was to be continued about 40 mins after the second ending but the Tunisian players didn't return to the pitch. "The players were having an ice bath" claimed the Tunisian coach.
Well, the referee ended the game for the third time.
Thanks for reading.