The referee at the centre of controversy in the #AFCON2021 match between Tunisia and Mali has finally opened up to Zambian journalists; quoting that he “feared for his life after reportedly suffering heatstroke” during the game.
The Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe, spoke to journalists in Zambia 🇿🇲 after returning to his home country, saying he was relieved to have gone back home alive.
“I have seen people going for duties outside the country and come back in a casket. I was very close to coming back like that. I was lucky I didn’t go into a coma. It would have been a very different story,”
Sikazwe said doctors told him he was close to going into a coma due to the heat, adding that he believed God told him to end the match early.
“The doctors told me my body was not cooling down. It would have been just a little time before [I would have gone] into a coma, and that would have been the end,”
“I think God told me to end the match. He saved me.”
Sikazwe explained they began the game despite the extreme conditions and how, despite struggling with the equipment, he soldiered on.
“The weather was so hot, and the humidity was about 85%. After the warm-up, I felt the [conditions] were something else. We were trying to drink water but you could not feel the water quenching you, nothing,”he said.
“But we [match officials] believe we are soldiers and we go and fight. Everything I was putting on was hot. Even the communication equipment, I wanted to throw it away. It was so hot.”
“I started getting confused. I could not hear anybody. I reached the point where I could start hearing some noise and I thought someone was communicating with me and people were telling me ‘no you ended the match’. It was a very strange situation.
“I was going through my head to find who told me to end the match. Maybe I was talking to myself, I don’t know. That is how bad the situation was.”