The 30 degrees of temperature and the high percentage of humidity, around 65%, to which the Tunisia-Mali of the African Cup was played could be behind the bizarre performance of the Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe. The protagonist of one of the strangest episodes in the history of the African tournament of nations would have suffered a severe heat stroke that caused him significant dehydration. This was pointed out by Essam Abdel-Fatah, the head of the Egyptian football referees and with a famous record as a referee, who added that Sikazwe had to be admitted to hospital at the conclusion of the clash between Tunisia and Mali. The manager’s statements, made to Egyptian television and bounced off by the press in Zambia, the referee’s country, try to explain the strange direction of a match that the referee ended twice before time, once in the 85th minute. and another at 89 and 50 seconds with 0-1 on the scoreboard for Mali.
It would also explain the fact that the organization tried to resume the match 35 minutes later and directed by the fourth official. “The referee suffered a severe heat stroke and was severely dehydrated, for which he was taken to hospital,” said Essam Abdel-Fatah.
The African Football Confederation issued a statement about what happened in Tunisia-Mali, an event that has seriously damaged the image of the competition. “In relation to the African Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali played in Limbé on January 12, 2022, the CAF is compiling all the necessary reports from the referees present at the match,” the agency states briefly. Limbé was the scene of chaos, because shortly after what happened with the Sikazwe arbitration the organization failed up to two times with the Mauritanian anthem in the run-up to the match against Gambia.
Janny Sikazwe, at 42 years old and born in Kapiri Mposhi, a city three hours from Lusaka, capital of Zambia, has become the main protagonist of this Africa Cup. The world press has delved into knowing one of the best referees in Africa, who enjoys the confidence of CAF and FIFA, as demonstrated by the fact that he was one of the referees of the last World Cup in Russia 2018. He has been an international referee since 2007 Sikazwe led Belgium-Panama and Japan-Poland. He also refereed the 2017 Africa Cup final, in which Cameroon beat Egypt 1-2. According to some sources, Sikazwe was the subject of an investigation for possible suspected corruption in November 2018 in a duel between Esperanza from Tunisia and El Primero de Agosto from Angola, corresponding to the African Champions League. After three months without refereeing internationally, FIFA saw insufficient evidence and lifted the suspension on Sikazwe in January 2019.