The Mali-Tunisia match (1-0) of the African Cup of Nations (CAN), Wednesday January 12, was chaotic, with a premature final whistle which angered the Tunisians.
Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe had already abandoned the match for the first time, at the 85e minute, an error which had made the Tunisian bench mad with rage. After having visibly transformed this too early whistle into a cool break, he resumed the match but stopped it for good a few seconds before the end of the 90e minute, even before the start of any additional time. This time, the entire Tunisian delegation became furious, coach Mondher Kebaier frantically waving his watch under the noses of officials.
The referee quartet had to leave under security escort in the face of the anger of the Carthage Eagles. About half an hour later, the game looked set to resume. The Malians returned to the field to play the final seconds of regulation time and a possible additional time. But the Tunisians remained in the locker room, which could augur complaints.
Janny Sikazwe, who referees his fifth CAN, also participated in the 2018 World Cup. It is not the first time that he has been at the center of a controversy. During CAN 2019, Senegal coach Aliou Cissé denounced his arbitration « Catastrophic » during the defeat in the group stage against Algeria. He reproached him in particular for an unwhistled penalty. Janny Sikazwe was suspended after an African Champions League match where he officiated, for « Suspicion of corruption », according to the press release from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) at the time. Due to lack of evidence, this suspension was lifted.
To not miss anything on African news, subscribe to the newsletter of World Africa from this link. Every Saturday at 6 a.m., find a week of current events and debates treated by the editorial staff of World Africa.