The Confederation of African Football (CAF) says it is assessing the developments in Wednesday’s controversial AFCON 2021 match between Tunisia and Mali.
Mali won the game 1-0 but the headlines were dominated by a few astonishing decisions by the referee in charge of the game, Janny Sikazwe.
CAF said in a statement on Thursday that “gathering all the necessary reports from the officials at the match” and is “forwarding these documents to the relevant bodies.”
It added that it will make no further comments about the issue “until the responsible bodies indicate the way forward.”
Referee Sikazwe astonishingly blew the final whistle in the 85th minute of the game with Mali ahead 1-0, which caused some confusion among the players and the technical teams of both sides.
After he was corrected on his call and restarted the match, the Zambian referee then harshly sent off Malian forward, El Bilal Toure.
Video: Referee blows final whistle in 85th and 89th minutes
— The African Voice (@teddyeugene) January 12, 2022
😳 The referee has blown the whistle after 89 minutes in Tunisia vs Mali #AFCON
😡 Tunisian coach Mondher Kebaier is furious with the decision to finish the game with no additional time pic.twitter.com/RISJCnclAK
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 12, 2022
Despite being asked by the Vido Assistant Referee (VAR) to review the decision, Sikazwe upheld his earlier call.
The referee then bafflingly blew his whistle before the 90th-minute mark, prompting a very upset Tunisian bench to empty onto the field to confront the official.
Sikazwe had to be escorted off the field by security personnel as the Tunisian players and technical staff continued to pursue him.
It was a surprising decision from the referee to end the match without any stoppage time, as the second half had seen nine substitutions, a cooling break and two relatively lengthy VAR checks.
A decision was then taken for the match to resume for five more minutes, with the officials and the Malian team returning to the pitch.
However, the Tunisians refused to play and after waiting for a while, the referee blew for full-time for the third time in the match.