The match official angered Tunisia during a game against Mali when he prematurely blew his whistle
Major international football tournaments tend to produce moments of magic, but there is also potential for chaos, as encapsulated by the game between Mali and Tunisia at Afcon 2021.
There was anger and confusion when the match official twice blew his whistle to signal for full-time, thus cutting short any hopes – however slim – of Tunisia mounting a comeback
So who is Janny Sikazwe and what exactly happened in the Africa Cup of Nations game? GOAL brings you everything you need to know.
Who is Janny Sikazwe?
Janny Sikazwe is a football referee from Zambia. Born on May 26, 1979, Sikazwe is one of the most senior referees from the African country, having been a FIFA international referee since 2007.
He boasts a wealth of experience and has taken charge of a number of high profile games in different competitions, both at club and international level.
Among the tournaments Sikazwe has refereed at are the CAF Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup.
A trained teacher, he made a breakthrough as a referee in 2008 when he replaced one who had taken ill at a CAF Under-20 Championship. Since then, his career has been on an upward trajectory.
A referee at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Sikazwe went on to officiate the 2016 Club World Cup final between Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final between Cameroon and Egypt.
He became the first ever Zambian referee to take charge of a game at a World Cup, controlling the whistle in two World Cup 2018 group games – Belgium vs Panama and Japan vs Poland.
Hey! Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe has officiated matches in the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup watched by 3.2 billion people across the globe. What was your reaction when you learned that a Zambian would be referring?
Photo credit: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix pic.twitter.com/xV13vkFAZq
— U.S. Embassy Zambia (@usembassyzambia) July 11, 2018
As his CV suggests, Sikazwe is highly regarded by his peers and one of his former mentors even suggested that he had the ability to referee a World Cup final.
“I was talking to Janny before he left [for World Cup 2018] and I said to him: ‘You have already done the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, and that is a stepping stone to another higher level final’,” FIFA referee instructor Felix Tangawarima told ESPN in 2018.
“I told him I would not be surprised if he does the World Cup final because of his ability and his vast experience in CAF. Everybody in Africa would be hopeful that he can represent us in the latter stages of the tournament.”
He was provisionally suspended by CAF in November 2018 following allegations of corruption during a CAF Champions League game between Esperance and Primiero Agosto, but the suspension was lifted in January 2019 when he was cleared in a disciplinary hearing.
Sikazwe later found himself in the middle of controversy at Afcon 2021, when he twice blew for full time too early.
Have you EVER seen anything like it…🤯
▪ Referee ends match early…
▪ Press conferences interrupted as AFCON officials say match must resume!
▪ Referee changed for final three minutes…
▪ Tunisia fail to return to the pitch!
Unbelievable, Jeff. 😳 pic.twitter.com/6upfMz3ZID
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 12, 2022
🚨 UNBELIEVABLE! 🤯 We’ve never seen this before! The referee ENDED the game TWICE before we even reached full time! 😱⏰
First full-time whistle: Min 8️⃣5️⃣
Second full-time whistle: Min 8️⃣9️⃣
#TeamTunisia vs #TeamMali #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 pic.twitter.com/hkfkdiHGJC
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) January 12, 2022
What happened in Tunisia vs Mali at Afcon 2021?
Controversy ensued during a game between Tunisia and Mali at Afcon 2021 on January 12, 2022 when Sikazwe prematurely blew his whistle for full-time on two different occasions.