AFCON refereeing concerns grow as Sikazwe fallout continues

AFCON refereeing concerns grow as Sikazwe fallout continues

Coaches and players taking part at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon have appealed to referees to make better use of VAR, and to avoid the costly errors that blighted Mali’s 1-0 win over Tunisia on Wednesday.

The Confederation of African Football may have explained that referee Janny Sikazwe was suffering from ‘heat stroke and severe dehydration’ after his collection of errors overshadowed Mali’s win, but scepticism remains around the continent’s officials.

“I usually don’t talk about officiating, it’s not my style, but there was a lot of controversy and the whole world is taking about this,” Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac told ESPN.

READ: Everything you need to know about AFCON

Head coach of Tunisia Mondher Kebaier reacts to the Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe after he finished the match against Mali before regular time. Haykel Hmima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The Zambian umpire at the centre of the officiating storm entered the competition as one of Africa’s most prominent officials, having refereed the Nations Cup final in 2017 and two matches at the World Cup in 2018.

However, his reputation is now in tatters, with CAF gathering reports from the refereeing team at the match as they seek to understand how Sikazwe twice ended the match prematurely — once in the 85th minute, and then again 18 seconds before the clock struck ’90.

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