2021 Africa Cup of Nations: CAF rejects Tunisia’s complaint about the early end of the match

Tunisia coach Mondher Kabir (right) protested against the match officials after the match ended early

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) rejected an official complaint lodged by the Tunisian Football Association regarding the end of their match with Mali 13 seconds ago.

Cav also confirmed the result of Wednesday’s match As a 1-0 win over MaliThe result was when Zambian referee Jani Sikazwe, who was said to have suffered heat stroke, exploded early.

He had already whistled full-time after 85 minutes, only to notice his mistake and carry on with the match.

Earlier on Thursday, FTF official Hussein Janieh insisted: “We will do whatever it takes to defend the rights of the national team. We are not children.”

The FTF’s media officer, Kais Reguez, refused to go into details when asked about the nature of the Tunisian complaint, which he has already confirmed.

The match referee Sikazwe reportedly had to go to hospital to recover after the match, which is why the fourth official was appointed to take charge of a failed attempt to restart the match after more than 20 minutes.

While Mali attended, Tunisia did not attend, because some of its players were taking ice baths.

“The referee suffered a heat stroke that affected his decisions in the match,” Issam Abdel-Fattah, the official in charge of arbitration in CAF, told Egyptian media. “After the match, he needed to go to the hospital because the weather was very hot.”

After an unexpected 0-0 draw with Sierra Leone, defending champions Algeria blamed their bid on the heat in Cameroon.

How did the farce develop?

Tunisia, the 2004 champions, participated in the tournament knowing that a young and dynamic Mali team was likely to be their main opponent in the group.

With only five minutes of base time remaining, they were stunned when the full-time referee blew Sikazwe off.

The Zambian later checked his timing and continued the match, sending off a Mali player in the meantime, then exploded afterwards with the clock showing 89 minutes 47 seconds.

In unusual scenes, the Mali coach’s press conference after the match was interrupted as it was announced that the match had to start all over again until the end, which never happened.

“They asked us to go back to the pitch, and we didn’t – we had no idea what was going on,” Tunisia defender Bilal Eva told reporters.

“We hope to replay the match,” he added. “The referee had no idea what was going on since the start of the match.”

The Tunisian assistant coach was furious over the incident and the potential damage to the reputation of the African match.

“Unfortunately, we cannot see such things at such a high level in Africa – African football cannot move forward like this,” Tunisia’s assistant coach Jalal Kadri told reporters.

“The referee is ‘shaken’ today. He was even hesitant to check the VAR, and didn’t even know how to get to the VAR.”

Chaos

Tunisian backroom staff protest against referee Gani Sikazoui
Tunisian backroom staff protested with Sikazoui (left) on the field after he blew his full-time prematurely.

Zambian referee Sikazwe officiated two group stage matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and took charge of the 2017 Nations Cup Final.

The heat stroke he reported would explain much of the chaos that followed the 85th minute and beyond.

Qadri added: “We didn’t understand anything in the 85th minute – we were in shock.”

“We spoke to the fourth referee, who said that there was a misunderstanding between him and the main referee, who might have misunderstood him. We resumed the match only to whistle again in the 89th minute.”

“We went to the fourth official, who agreed that the match was not over yet,” Ganayeh, an official from the French Federation, told reporters.

“We have complained that this is the second time the referee has stopped the match prematurely.

The fourth official said at first that the match would resume, but when he went to the main referee, the latter said, “No, I whistled, the match is over.”

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