AFCON 2021: ‘I could have died from heatstroke’ – Sikazwe

Referee Janny Sikazwe who blew for full-time early in an Africa Cup of Nations match claims he could have died of heatstroke.

The Zambian official ended Tunisia’s game against Mali 13 seconds before the 90 minutes were up.

He had previously blown for full-time five minutes early, before checking the timing and restarting the game.

“I have seen people going for duties outside the country and come back in a casket,” Sikazwe said.

“I was very close to coming back like that.”

“I was lucky I didn’t go into a coma. It would have been a very different story.”

“The doctors told me my body was not cooling down. It would have been just a little time before I would have gone into a coma, and that would have been the end.”

“I think God told me to end the match. He saved me,” he added.

The Group F match in Limbe on Wednesday, 12 January concluded in controversy as coaching staff from Tunisia, who were trailing 1-0 and playing against 10 men, ran onto the pitch to confront Sikazwe and his assistants about the early finish.

However, Sikazwe stood by his decision and needed security staff to escort him off the pitch.

Twenty minutes later tournament organisers ordered the game to be played to a conclusion but Tunisia’s players did not return to the field and Mali were declared winners.

The North Africans then filed a formal complaint to the Confederation of African Football but it was rejected.

Speaking to Zambian media on his arrival back in the country, Sikazwe said the impact of the weather in Limbe was the reason for his erratic performance in the second half.

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