Dhe Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon has barely started and the Tunisians are already in need of some tender loving care. Their opener against Mali is the first game of 2022 to be called twice and not last 90 minutes.
First referee Janny Sikazwe called it a day in the 86th minute, then, after the outrage of the Tunisians, who were 1-0 behind, and the restart, after 89 minutes and 45 seconds. That’s a bit early for a game with two penalties, one sending off and a drink break.
Anyone who now thinks of Wolf-Dieter Ahlenfelder, who managed something similar 47 years ago in the game Werder Bremen against Hannover 96 in the Bundesliga – in the first half – is doing Sikazwe wrong. In Limbé, Cameroon, it was 34 degrees Celsius during the season, but not in Bremen in November 1975.
Sikazwe was hospitalized after the game with heat stroke and dehydration, the African Football Association (CAF) said. He rejected the Tunisians’ request for a replay.
The new year is only two weeks old, but for all referees who – hopefully – still have a few games ahead of them in 2022, one thing should be clear: it won’t get any worse.