‘I nearly died, God told me to end match to save my life’ – Referee explains AFCON blunder

Janny Sikazwe, the referee who prematurely ended a game at the ongoing AFCON, has said that he nearly died from heatstroke while officiating the said match.

Zambian referee, Janny Sikazwe

The Zambian referee came under the spotlight after ending a game between Mali and Tunisia before 90 minutes.

“I have seen people going for duties outside the country and come back in a casket,' he told reporters after arriving back in Zambia,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

“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.”

The match official made a series of contentious decisions as Mali recorded a 1-0 win over the North African side during the group stages.

Sikazwe endured the worst last 10 minutes of his career when he ended the game after just 85 minutes had been played.

As if that was not enough, after resuming, the Zambian official went ahead to controversially send off Mali’s El Bilal Toure after what looked like a yellow card offence.

His most contentious decision came in the 89th minute when he decided to end the game again, to the surprise of the Tunisian bench.

According to him, the weather was so hot in Cameroon that he couldn’t handle it while refereeing the game.

“The weather was so hot, and the humidity was about 85 per cent. After the warm-up I felt the [conditions] were something else. We were trying to drink water but you could not feel the water quenching you - nothing.

“But we [match officials] believe we are soldiers and we go and fight. Everything I was putting on was hot. Even the communication equipment, I wanted to throw it away. It was so hot,” Sikazwe added.

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