Referee Janny Sikazwe’s controversial past has resurfaced during Belgium’s 2022 World Cup opening match against Canada on Wednesday. Canada dominated the first half, despite going into half-time 1-0 behind, but were stunned when Sikazwe’s linesman waved off an attack for offside after Belgium captain Eden Hazard passed a player of the opposition
Hazard’s panicked pass in the 14th minute fell to the feet of Tajon Buchanan, who was running back from an offside position, before another Canada star tried to deflect a shot. But the referee whistled for offside to frustrate the danger, despite the fact that Buchanan received the ball from Hazard.
Amidst the confusion on social media, it has emerged that Sikazwe was the referee who strangely ended an Africa Cup of Nations match four minutes ahead of schedule in January. Mali’s 1-0 win over Tunisia was marred by the controversial ending after full time was ruled out by the Zambian referee in the 96th minute.
The players and coaches quickly realized the mistake and furiously reported it to Sikazwe, who then motioned for the game to continue. But he ended the game early for the second time, whistling at 89 minutes and 42 seconds, despite the fact that the game featured VAR checks, two penalties and a red card.
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His actions angered the Tunisian coaches, who rushed onto the field to confront him after his second full whistle, pointing to their watches in disbelief. However, Sikazwe was not interested and was led off the field with his assistants. But not by much…
Twenty minutes after the dubious whistle for regulation time, reports surfaced that the match would be restarted for a second time in the middle of Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba’s press conference. After unsurprising hesitations, Mali returned to the field, but Tunisia refused to play in protest.
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