Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe has a reputation for being one of the best in Africa – but what he did at the Africa Cup of Nations was bizarre.
Silkazwe was appointed to officiate Belgium against Canada at the Winter World Cup in Qatar.
But after becoming a global story thanks to the absurd scenes in the Tunisia-Mali game at AFCON, all eyes will be on the Zambian to see what he does next.
Who is Janny Sikazwe?
Born in Kapiri Mposhi in 1979, Sikazwe has been a familiar face to fans of African football for the past decade.
After receiving his Fifa license in 2010, he first played international youth games before taking over the qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012.
He’s climbed the ranks since then and has a reputation for being a forgiving referee who likes the game to flow.
However, controversy arose when Sikazwe officiated the 2016 Club World Cup final between Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers.
When Sergio Ramos brought down an opponent who had already been warned, the Zambian picked up a second yellow card and called the Galacticos captain over to him.
But then he put his hand back in his pocket and bizarrely decided not to send Ramos away.
Sikazwe later said the decision was due to misunderstandings and when he misheard his assistant through his headphones he thought he had asked for a card when he actually said “foul, no card”.
He officiated two games at the 2018 World Cup – Belgium vs. Panama and Japan vs. Poland. – but was the subject of further controversy later that year.
Sikazwe has been temporarily suspended on suspicion of corruption after covering an African Champions League match between Esperance and Primiero Agosto.
He awarded a controversial penalty for Esperance before ruling out a goal for their opponents due to a perceived foul on the goalkeeper.
The suspension by CAF was imposed in November 2018 but lifted by FIFA just three months later.
What happened in Tunisia vs Mali?
After a series of egregious mistakes in Mali’s 1-0 win against Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations, security personnel were forced to rush onto the pitch to protect the referee.
Sikazwe endured a horrific afternoon as he gave two controversial penalties, a questionable red card and TWICE ended the game prematurely.
He missed a penalty early in the second half after Ellyes Skhiri blocked Boubakar Kouyate’s shot with his arm.
Sikazwe missed another penalty with just 15 minutes left after Wahbi Khazri’s shot slammed into Moussa Djenepo’s hand.
The referee originally missed the handball and needed VAR to save it.
Incredibly, Sikazwe just blew on for full-time 85 MINUTES – before angry Tunisian officials pointed out his simply bizarre mistake.
Sikazwe then sent off substitute El Bilal Toure two minutes later for a late tackle that was worthy of a yellow card at worst.
He was instructed by VAR to watch it again but after a look at the pitchside video screen he stood by his decision.
And to make matters worse, he then called for the end of the game prematurely AGAIN.
The players left the field and for a while it looked like play might resume, but Tunisia were eventually thwarted by a 1-0 win over Mali.
What did he say about the incident?
The Zambian referee claimed to have heard from someone that the game
Sikazwe said: “I got to the point where I could start hearing noises and I thought someone was communicating with me and people were saying to me, ‘No, you finished the game’. It was a very strange situation.
“I was thinking about who told me to quit the game. Maybe I was talking to myself, I don’t know. The situation was that bad.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4449545/janny-sikazwe-tunisia-mali-referee-afcon-world-cup/ Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe has a reputation for being one of the best in Africa – but what he did at the Africa Cup of Nations was bizarre.