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Referee who ended AFCON match twice before time makes World Cup debut

The name of Zambian official top-rated referee Janny Sikazwe is still on the lips of Africans after the controversial refereeing of the Tunisia versus Mali match during the Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

Mr. Sikazwe became the town’s talk because of his final whistle to end the match, which came five minutes earlier before the official FIFA timing of 90 minutes.

His decision sparked uproar from Tunisia’s side, trailing 1-0 behind, forcing him to restart the match again.

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However, even after restarting the match to cover the remaining minutes, Mr. Sikazwe ended the march again earlier, this time 13 seconds before the time.

But in an interview with BBC after the AFCON 2021 tournament that was crowned to the Senegal team (Lions of Teranga) for the first time, Mr. Sikazwe claimed that he could have died of heatstroke had he kept the match ongoing.

“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,” Mr. Sikazwe said.

Mr. Sikazwe is among the African referees who made to the FIFA list to officiate the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.

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His first World Cup match in Qatar was on Wednesday, where he officiated Canada versus Belgium.

Canada fans across social media criticized him for failing to award them two penalties, which saw Canada losing 1-0 to Belgium.

Former Spanish international midfielder Cesc Fabregas reacted when the referee denied Canada what he termed as a clear penalty, only for Mr. Sikazwe to blow a whistle for an offside.

“Isn’t this a back pass and a pen? What did I miss?” Fabregas tweeted.

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Mr Sikazwe’s popularity started when he officiated Nations Cup final in 2017 and two matches at the World Cup in 2018.

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