I escaped death and God asked me to end the match.. Sikazwe talks about the “scandal” of the Tunisia-Mali match in the African Nations
Zambian referee Jani Sikazwe returned to the circumstances surrounding the match between Tunisia and Mali in the African Nations Cup, and justified his strange decisions by ending the original time of the match.
The match between Tunisia and Mali on January 12 witnessed what was described as an “arbitration disaster”, the hero of which was Sikazwi, as he suddenly decided to end the match in the 85th minute, before deciding to complete the meeting after the opposition of the technical staff of the Tunisian team.
Sikazwe repeated the same thing again, after he finished the match 10 seconds before the end of the original time, declaring Mali’s 1-0 victory, without declaring the added time, despite the meeting stopping for several minutes to review the video assistant referee technology (VAR) and the two teams made many substitutions. And they benefited from a time-out to drink water due to the high temperature.
Sikazwi talked about the atmosphere in which the match took place, and said that he had escaped death, and would have been close to falling into a coma if he had not blown the final whistle.
He said in a statement carried by the BBC:BBC) “I was lucky that I did not fall into a coma, it would have been a completely different story, I think God told me to finish the game. You saved me.”
He added, “The weather was very hot, and the humidity was about 85%. After warming up, I felt that the weather was difficult, and we were trying to drink water, but we did not feel that the water quenched our thirst, yet we agreed to run the match.”
“Everything I was wearing was hot. Even the communication equipment I wanted to get rid of, it was very hot,” he said.
He indicated that he was not able to communicate with the rest of his referee team, and said, “I started feeling confused, and I couldn’t hear anyone, I got to a situation where I could hear some noise and I thought someone was communicating with me. It was a very strange situation, I was thinking in my head to find out who asked me to finish the match. Maybe I was talking to myself, I don’t know.”
The day after the match between Tunisia and Mali, Sikazwe went to the hospital for in-depth examinations, but all the results were normal, and he received a visit from the President of the Confederation of African Football, Patrice Motsebe, and the President of the Zambian Federation, Andrew Kamanga.
Sikazwe returned to work on January 18, where he supervised the video assistant referee (VAR) technology for the Morocco-Gabon match.
Sikazwe pledged to continue refereeing, and is expected to take charge of a match in the CAF Confederation Cup later this month.