The Mali-Tunisia match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2021) had an unbelievable end, with a premature final whistle which angered the Tunisians. Malians later returned to the field, but their opponents didn’t accept the offer.
While Mali was leading (1-0) in group F first match against Tunisia, the end of the match turned into a comedy. For no reason, the Zambian referee of the match, Janny Sikazwe, stopped the game for the first time in the 85th minute.
After visibly turning that too early whistle into a cool break, he then resumed the game, but stopped it for good a few seconds from the end of the 90th minute. Even before the start of a hypothetical additional time, probably due to the numerous replacements.
This decision provoked outrage in the Tunisian camp who hoped to be able to equalize in these precious last minutes.
The Carthage Eagles delegation rushed into the field to ask for explanations. The referee quartet had to go out under security escort.
“He practically deprives us of seven or eight minutes of additional time. His decision can’t be explained,” denounced Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier at a press conference after the meeting.
About half an hour later, the match almost resumed with another referee.
The Malians returned to the field to play the final seconds of regulation time and a possible additional time. But the Tunisians remained in the locker room and the match could not resume.
Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe “whistles the end of the match, he asks us to go to the locker room, the players do an ice bath for 35 minutes. After that, he came and asked us to come back on the pitch? It’s been almost 30 years that I am in this field and I have never seen such a situation “, explained the coach.
“I can not understand how he made this decision. We will see the decisions that will follow after,” suggesting Tunisian steps to contest the result.
“We were told to come back to the field because the match was not over,” said Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba, who regrets that unfortunately the other team did not want to return.