Friday, May 20

“I could have gone into a coffin”: the Mali-Tunisia referee looks back on the incredible end of the CAN match

Janny Sikazwe was talked about a lot at the start of the CAN. The Zambian referee had twice whistled the end of the match between Mali and Tunisia before the end of regulation time. A little over two weeks later, he broke the silence to explain this event, due to a health problem that could have cost him his life.

Janny Skiazwe had stopped the meeting for the first time at the 85e minute. Realizing his mistake, he restarted the game to play the last five minutes before sending the two teams back to the locker room a few seconds from the end, angering the Tunisians who lost (1-0). In the hours that followed, the referee had been transported to the hospital to undergo a multitude of examinations.

Since his arrival at the stadium, he did not feel very well. “When I arrived in Limbe (Cameroon), it was very hot, with a terrible humidity level, over 80%. As soon as I warmed up, it was hard. No matter how much I took water, I felt like I was still just as thirsty,” he told The Team. And his state of health deteriorated over the course of the meeting.

If he was able to “relax” and “restore” at the break, he was not at his best. “I came back as tired as when I finished the first period and I started to lose my bearings. I was confused and didn’t realize anything. I no longer heard my assistants who told me that they were trying to reach me, to help me because they saw that something was wrong. I didn’t even feel like they were talking to me. I have no memory of it,” he said.

According to the examinations he took, Janny Sikazwe suffered a heat stroke which could have ended very badly. “They called it heat stroke but it could have been much more serious. Within five minutes I could fall into a coma, they told me at the hospital. I could have fit in a coffin. Because it was very dangerous what happened. My luck is that I am in good health.

And luckily for him, everything ended up being back to normal. “Three days later I took fitness tests again and everything was normal. I had no sequelae,” he reassured. Janny Sikazwe should thus soon be able to resume service.

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