By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus - The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) that started on Sunday 10th January, 2022 had been struggling to make a breakthrough in global news headlines until Zambian born referee, Janny Sikaziwe, ended the match twice between Tunisia and Mali on Wednesday - a scenario that has since caused anger, controversy and unprecedented criticism towards him and CAF.
Sikaziwe initially blew for full time at 85 minutes - five minutes before regulation time and once more before the 90 minutes prompting anger and disbelief from the Tunisians who were trailing Mail by 1-0 and seeking an equalizer.
The incident prompted CAF to interrupt a post match press conference to have the game resume for the final three minutes with a different referee. Mali players agreed and returned to the pitch but the Tunisian players refused hence prompting CAF to let the result stand.
Who is Janny Sikaziwe?
Janny Sikaziwe, a trained teacher, is a Zambian football referee born on 26th May, 1979. He has officiated a number of high profile games at club and International level since 2007 when he first earned a FIFA licence.
Regarded as one of the most senior referees from Zambia, Sikaziwe made a breakthrough in 2008 when he replaced an ill referee during the CAF U20 championship. Ever since, his career has been on an upward trajectory. He became the first Zambian-born referee to officiate a FIFA World Cup match, controlling the whistle in two 2018 World Cup games; Belgium vs Panama and Japan vs Poland.
He was in control of the whistle at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, the 2016 Club World Cup final between Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final between Cameroon and Egypt.
Despite being a man of descent means by experience and training, Sikaziwe's career is filled with some unimaginable controversies. Before the controversy in the 2021 AFCON game between Mali and Tunisia, Sikaziwe was provisionally suspended by CAF in November 2018 following corruption allegations in a CAF champions league game between Esperance and Primiero Agosto. How ever the ban was uplifted in January 2019 when he was cleared in a disciplinary hearing.