August 15, 2022

It’s a shame Mali aren’t at the World Cup

Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe has been selected to officiate at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite controversially ending a match early at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

Sikazwe is one of 36 referees selected by governing body FIFA to officiate at the showpiece tournament – with the 42-year-old leading a six member group from the Confederation of African football.

FIFA has selected 36 referees, 69 assistant referees and 24 video match officials based on their quality and performances at selected tournaments, as well as at other international and domestic competitions in recent years.

In 2018, Sikazwe became the first ever Zambian referee to take charge of a game at a World Cup, taking charge of two group stage matches – Belgium vs Panama and Japan vs Poland.

The World Cup will also include female referees for the first time at a major men’s international tournament, with Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor also selected to officiate.

AFCON controversy

Earlier this year, Sikazwe faced intense backlash after blowing for full-time early in the Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali – not once but twice in the group stage fixture.

Following the premature full-time whistle, CAF officials instructed the teams to go back out and complete the game. However, Mali, who were 1-0 up, went back out to play, but Tunisia did not appear.

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The North Africans filed a formal complaint to the Confederation of African Football, but it was rejected and the result stood.

Sikazwe was later taken to hospital having suffered from sun stroke, and the official has since claimed that ‘he could’ve died’ from it.

The 2022 World Cup kicks off on November 21, with Senegal facing off against the Netherlands, before England play against Iran later in the day.

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