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Caf 'gathering reports' from Mali-Tunisia game spoiled by referee fiasco

Mali's Massadio Haïdara is challenged by Hannibal Mejbri of Tunisia in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations match at Stade Municipal de Limbe in Limbe, Cameroon on January 12 2021.
Mali's Massadio Haïdara is challenged by Hannibal Mejbri of Tunisia in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations match at Stade Municipal de Limbe in Limbe, Cameroon on January 12 2021.
Image: CafOnline/Twitter

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) says it is “gathering all the necessary reports” from Wednesday's controversial 2021 Africa Cup of Nations match between Mali and Tunisia where referee Janny Sikazwe had a howler.

Caf said it would forward the documents to the relevant bodies within the continental organisation and could not comment further.

Mali beat Tunisia 1-0 at Stade Municipal de Limbe in Limbe, Cameroon. The Group F match was plunged into farcical circumstances when Zambian referee Sikazwe blew for time five minutes early, reconsidered, then committed the same error ending the game before 90 minutes.

“In relation to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali played in Limbe on January 12 Caf is gathering all the necessary reports from the officials at the match,” Caf said.

“Caf is forwarding these documents to the competent bodies of Caf.

“At this stage Caf is not in a position to make further comment until the responsible bodies indicate the way forward.”

Sikazwe, who took charge of the 2017 Cup of Nations final, initially blew for the final whistle on 85 minutes as he got his timekeeping wrong. But after playing on he repeated the error when he blew for full time, again before the clock had ticked over to 90 minutes.

Tunisia were furious and officials stormed onto the pitch in protest, but the man of the match trophy was handed out and the post-match news conferences in full swing before Caf officials decided four additional minutes should be played.

Mali came back out onto the pitch 40 minutes after the controversy began, but Tunisia refused to play on and Sikazwe ended the game for a third time.

The match was a tale of two penalties as Mali forward Ibrahima Kone converted his attempt, but Tunisia's Wahbi Khazri could not follow suit as his effort was saved by goalkeeper Ibrahima Mounkoro 13 minutes from time.

Sikazwe sent off Mali striker El Bilal Toure when he was fractionally late making a challenge in what looked a harsh decision.


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