The referee who officiated the match between Tunisia and Mali in the ongoing African Cup of Nations, Janny Sikazwe has revealed who told him to end the game ahead of official minutes.
Naija News recalls that there was an outrage on January 12 after Sikazwe blew the final whistle before the last minutes of the second half of the game.
The Zambian official sparked controversy when he ended the group-stage fixture a few minutes earlier.
Speaking in an interview days after, Sikazwe said God had told him to bring the match to an end and that he could have died of heatstroke if the match went on any longer.
Naija News understands that the Tunisian ten were already losing 1-0 and playing against 10 men when Sikazwe ended the match that day.
The Zambian man left members of their coaching staff furious and they stormed onto the pitch to confront the referee.
However, Sikazwe has now thanked God for saving him from death.
“I have seen people going for duties outside the country and come back in a casket,” he told reporters after arriving back in Zambia.
“I was very close to coming back like that.
“I was lucky I didn’t go into a coma. It would have been a very different story.
“The doctors told me my body was not cooling down. It would have been just a little time before [I would have gone] into a coma, and that would have been the end.
“I think God told me to end the match. He saved me.”
Meanwhile, the English Premier League has reportedly suspended one of its referees, Kevin Friend, over controversial match officiating.
Naija News understands that the 50-year-old UK-born has not been assigned any match to officiate for the next round of the EPL fixtures.
The development is coming following Friend’s decision while officiating the game between Liverpool and Crystal Palace, which saw the Reds win 3-1 at Selhurst Park.
With the score at 2-1, Liverpool’s forward Diogo Jota raced clear and bundled into Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita with minutes remaining.
Naija News understands that Friend awarded a penalty to the Reds after a VAR check.
Friend’s colleague, Craig Pawson had advised him to go to the monitor.
However, as has been the case this season, the Leicester based referee analyzed the slow-motion and awarded a penalty for the visiting team.
It was the 49th time a referee had been asked to consult the pitch-side monitor and every time the original decision has been changed.
This article was originally published on Naija News