Referee Janny Sikazwe under fire

 Referee Janny Sikazwe under fire

By Mercy Chewe
Famous Zambian top football referee Janny Sikazwe has been heavily criticized for making some questionable decisions in the Africa Cup match involving Mali and Tunisia.

In Mali’s 1-0 win over Tunisia, Sikazwe twice blew his whistle for full-time before the 90th minute in a group stage match.

Experienced Sikazwe initially blew his whistle to indicate the end of the match in the 85th minute, before play resumed after the error only for Sikazwe to again blow before the 90th minute.

Some questioned a red card he flashed and the two penalties awarded in the game.

Scores of Zambians have taken to social media to criticize Sikazwe while a handful of people are supporting him.

Football administrator Ricky Chisenga Mamfunda said Sikazwe should be rebuked over his mistakes at the Africa Cup.

“Honest rebuke is better than dishonest praise. Standing with someone in difficult times should NOT blind us from the clear and obvious mistakes that were committed. Genuine love is not short of honest rebuke,” Mamfunda said.

Sikazwe has been a FIFA international referee since 2007.

Football analyst Musonda Chibulu said the mistakes Sikazwe made in the match between Mali and Tunisia should not overshadow his past glory.

“Let us not forget he is the first African referee to ever handle the FIFA Club World Cup Final. Let us not forget he handled the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Final won by Cameroon.Let us not forget he was among elite referees that officiated the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and was not dropped after the first round like others,” Musonda recalled.

“He did not arrive at this stage by mistake. Others who are not Zambians are mocking him, but for us now we need to stand by our Janny Sikazwe. To make mistakes is human. Am sure, there is an explanation to what we saw today. I have read social media and I believe that we now need to show other countries that we love Janny Sikazwe even at this time,” Musonda stated.

Among the tournaments Sikazwe has refereed at are the CAF Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup.

Alice Nachilembe

Alice Nachilembe is a Journalist who yearns for a better country with leaders being accountable to their mandate without oppressing the governed.