AFCON 2021

God told me to end the Mali-Tunisia tie to save my life – Janny Sikazwe

I could have died of heatstroke

Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe has explained his reasons for ending the AFCON group game between Mali and Tunisia twice before the 90 minutes mark.

Janny Sikazwe grabbed the headline in the tie in Limbe when he ended the game on two ocassions before it was 90 minutes.

Several reasons were given for his actions with some saying he didn’t stop his time when there were stoppages through VAR checks.

Some said his wrist watch was bad and others said he was rushed to the hospital but Janny Sikazwe has explained in details what happened.

“I was going through my head to find who told me to end the match. Maybe I was talking to myself, I don’t know,” said Janny Sikazwe.

He revealed he could have died of heatstroke.

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

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.

“The weather was so hot, and the humidity was about 85%,” he said.

“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 – anything.

“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 said he was not able to communicate with the rest of his officiating team.

“I started getting confused. I could not hear anybody,” he said.

“I reached the point where I could start hearing some noise, and I thought someone was communicating with me and people were telling me ‘no you ended the match’. It was a very strange situation.

“I was going through my head to find who told me to end the match. Maybe I was talking to myself, I don’t know. That is how bad the situation was.”

The day after the Tunisia-Mali game, Sikazwe went to the hospital for heart, blood and physical tests – but all his results came back normal.

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