Zambia official not only twice ends the game before final whistle but also clumsily send off Mali player
Match at 89th Minutes
Tunisia 0-1 Mali
Tunisia’s bench were left fuming when Zambia referee Janny Sikazwe ended the game for the second time before the official time and added time.
First, referee Sikazwe blew the whistle to end the match at 85th minute to only be reminded by the officials at the touchline to restart the game.
After four minutes, the Zambian official blew his whistle with a minute left to the final whistle.
Sikazwe’s decision infuriated the Tunisia bench who stormed the pitch to call him to demand him to change his decision and have the game restarted.
Organisers had to call in security to keep the centre referee and his colleagues away from angry Tunisia officials.
They walked away from the pitch with security barricading them away from the Tunisians whose side had missed a penalty and were trailing Mali by a goal.
Ibrahima Kone put his side ahead from the penalty spot by sending Bechir Ben the wrong way after Tunisia defender Ellyes Skhiri handled the ball in the box.
Tunisia saw VAR decide to hand them a penalty after Moussa Djenepo handled the ball in the keeper’s area.
Skipper Wahbi Khazri missed the opportunity to see his side draw the game when Mali goalkeeper parried the ball away for a corner kick.
Referee Sikazwe was again at it when he sent off Mali’s El Bilal Toure for a bookable offense on Tunisia centre back.
He maintained his decision even after having a review on the VAR screen by the side.
The Zambian faces a tricky campaign at this tournament if CAF and the organisers take a full review of the match for the several decisions he got wrong in this match.
Mali go top of the group while Tunisia sit at the bottom with Mauritania and Gambia playing next.
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.