The Knight of the whistle seized the headlines globally this afternoon for a wrong reason
Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe’s watch failed him in the game between Mali and Tunisia in the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations holding in Cameroon.
Although, the referee has been slammed by almost everyone who watched the game worldwide, his actions seemed not deliberate but rather a state of confusion.
Initial checks are pointing to the fact that his watch was probably not stopped during half-time and it was even running while both teams and the referees were having their rest in the dressing rooms.
Therefore, he was far ahead of time when he restarted the game, something which still surprises a lot of people.
On 79th minute, he thought it was 90th minute & signalled to the fourth referee to add five minutes – reason why he ended the game on 85th minute. He continued the game with a drop ball when prompted by the fourth referee.
However, that wasn’t enough because in his mind, they were now about to play the additional five minutes he earlier prompted the fourth referee to show.
So, clearly, from 85th minute to 89 + 51 seconds was full time plus additional time for him which was obviously not the case in reality.
The VAR officials could’ve helped by constantly telling him through the communication device that the game was stopped by the 85th minute and that the additional time he signalled was not valid.
Sikazwe may have failed himself but his assistants were also poor at a point.
The fourth even could’ve called him to the touch line and clear out things with him before restarting the game.
Although, after ending the game, CA officials wanted the two teams to play the remaining five minutes, Tunisia kicked against it and insisted that their players were not psychologically stable to continue.
Caf is yet to release an official statement about the incident but reports suggest that referee Sikazwe may not officiate any of the remaining games as his punishment.