CAN-2022: the premature end of the match for Tunisia

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The Mali-Tunisia match (1-0) of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) had an incredible end, with a premature final whistle which angered the Tunisians. The Malians then returned to the field, but not their opponents.

While Mali led (0-1) in the first CAN-2022 Group F match against Tunisia, the end of the match turned into a comedy. For no reason, the Zambian referee of the match, Janny Sikazwe, stopped the game for the first time in the 85th minute. After visibly turning that too early whistle into a cool break, he then resumed the game, but stopped it for good a few seconds from the end of the 90th minute, even before the start of a hypothetical additional time, probable in view of the numerous replacements.

This decision provoked outrage in the Tunisian camp who hoped to be able to equalize in these precious last minutes. The Carthage Eagles delegation rushed into the field to ask for explanations. The referee quartet had to go out under security escort in the face of his anger.

“He practically deprives us of seven or eight minutes of added time. His decision is inexplicable,” denounced Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier at a press conference after the meeting.


About half an hour later, the match looked like it had to be resumed with another referee. 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 and the match could not resume.

Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe “whistles the end of the match, he asks us to go to the locker room, the players do an ice bath for 35 minutes and after that he comes and asks us to come back on the pitch? It’s been almost 30 years that I am in this field and I have never seen such a situation “, explained the technician. “I can not understand how he made this decision. We will see the decisions that will follow after,” suggesting Tunisian steps to contest the result.

“We were told to come back to the field because the match was not over, for his part said the coach of Mali, Mohamed Magassouba, unfortunately the other team did not want to come back and the final whistle was been given. “

An experienced but controversial referee

Janny Sikazwe referees his fifth CAN, he also participated in the 2018 World Cup and refereed the African club cup finals. This is not the first time that he has been at the center of a controversy. During CAN-2019, Senegal coach Aliou Cissé denounced his “catastrophic” arbitration during the defeat in the group stage against Algeria. He reproached him in particular for an unblocked penalty.

He was suspended after an African Champions League match where he officiated for “suspicion of corruption”, according to the press release from CAF at the time. But due to lack of evidence, this suspension was lifted.

If he is likely to enter the legend of African football, Tunisia risks a penalty for refusing to resume the match. At the end of the afternoon, the African Football Confederation (CAF) had not reacted, announcing only the delay of three quarters of an hour of the kick-off of the next match, Mauritania-Gambia, scheduled on the same ground.

With AFP

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