AFCON: Referee from Tunisia vs Mali chaos was suspended for corruption allegations in 2018


Janny Sikazwe, the referee at the heart of the controversy in the Africa Cup of Nations fixture between Tunisia and Mali on Wednesday, was previously suspended following allegations of corruption.

Sikazwe blew his whistle to bring an end to Tunisia’s Group F game against Mali twice before 90 minutes had actually been played.

The first instance came in the 85th minute of the match. Then, despite a number of stoppages throughout the game – including three VAR reviews – Sikazwe stopped the game with 89 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

The drama wasn’t over there. Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba was giving his post-match press conference when CAF officials interrupted to say the final three minutes of the match would be played out.

But Tunisia’s players didn’t return to the field and Mali, who were leading 1-0, were declared winners.

Sikazwe was suspended in 2018

Sikazwe has since made global headlines, but it’s not the first time the Zambian official has been caught up in controversy with the CAF.

Back in 2018, he was suspended by the governing body following allegations of corruption.

Sikazwe was investigated for his performance in an African Champions League affair between Esperance and Primiero Agosto.

In the game, Esperance were awarded a controversial penalty, which they scored from, and Sikazwe also ruled out an Agosto goal for a perceived foul on Esperance’s goalkeeper.

2018 corruption allegations

The CAF Disciplinary Board ruled at the time: “The chairman of the CAF Disciplinary Board decides that there is good ground to hold a hearing regarding allegations of corruption made against Mr Janny Sikazwe.

“Mr Janny Sikazwe is provisionally suspended from all football activities related to CAF pending a hearing before CAF Disciplinary Board.”

The suspension was handed down in November 2018 but FIFA lifted it in January 2019.

Sikazwe had just come off officiating duties at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He had taken charge of two games – Belgium vs Panama and Japan vs Poland.

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