CAN 2022: a Tunisia – Mali ROCAMBOLESQUE! African football is still getting noticed in the wrong way

Surrealist scene this Wednesday afternoon in the match between Tunisia and Mali counting for group F of this CAN 2022. A match that ended in general confusion with a 1-0 victory for the Malians.

ROCAMBOLESQUE! The word is perfectly chosen to describe the end of the match between Tunisia and Mali. If the match was able to go perfectly until the 85th minute of play, on the other hand everything went crazy at that time. Led 1-0 on a goal from Ibrahima Koné on penalty, the Tunisians had the very bad surprise to see the referee of the meeting whistle the end. After strong disputes from the Tunisian bench, questions from spectators, commentators and even viewers, the Zambian referee of this match, Mr. Janny Sikazwe admits his mistake and decides to resume the match. A small mistake but nothing more until this part goes to the irrational side.

A few seconds later, he decides to give a red card to Rémois El Bilal Touré for a dangerous foul, but which should only have deserved a yellow. 89th minute, he whistles once again the end of the game not counting additional time (which was to be important with nearly 9 changes from both sides) but also by ending the match one minute from regulation time. New confusions and the Tunisians, his head coach, cry foul and ask for explanations from Mr. Sikazwe. The latter, escorted to the locker room with his referee trio.

One last WTF episode

Disappointed and annoyed after this masquerade, the Tunisians somehow accept their fate, while the Malians celebrate their success. About 20 minutes later, members of CAF arrive in the press room to interrupt the Malian coach and tell him that the game must resume to play the last three minutes. The Federation takes matters in hand and resumes the match without the presence of the main referee replaced by the fourth referee. The Malians and their captain Amari Traoré on the ground are ready to finish this part but big problem. Tired and sickened by this story, the Tunisians will not return to the lawn and as BeIN Sports clarified, the teammates of Stéphanois Wahbi Khazri have returned to their bus to return to their camp. Without the presence of the Eagles of Carthage, Mali is given the winner and takes the lead of group F.

An arbitrator already suspended for corruption

If the match is over and the Tunisians have accepted their fate on the field with this defeat, on the other hand they should not stop there legally. The Federation should assert its rights in this matter. And the referee could risk very big. Experienced referee in Africa with a fifth CAN contested, he is sadly known on the continent for another scandal. Indeed in 2018, he was suspended by the CAF disciplinary committee after the semi-final return leg vs Espérance Tunis Primeiro de Agosto (4-2) in the African Champions League. The Zambian had been accused of corruption. Here is a new episode which could well cost him much more than a simple suspension. A scene which still shows the worries that have plagued African football for many years.

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