The Africa Cup of Nations descended into chaos on Wednesday after farce scenes involving the referee in Mali’s controversial 1–0 victory over Tunisia.
Official Janny Sikazwe gave the final whistle after just 85 minutes before resuming play, but then sounded again with just 89 minutes and 43 seconds left of the Group F clash.
His mistake sparked a furious reaction from the Tunisian bench, with boss Mondher Kebaier furiously grabbing the Zambian referee’s arm and pointing his watch immediately after the full-time whistle.
The Tunisian head coach was later joined by his team behind the scenes in protest, with Kebaier facing one of the linesmen to complain about the game’s untimely end as his side lost 1–0.
Security personnel had to surround Sikazwe, who refereed the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and his two officials at Limbe stadium in Cameroon in order to keep angry Tunisian personnel away from them.
Kebaier angrily grabbed the official’s arm and was joined by members of his backstage staff
In the press conference room we just saw the refs on the pitch discussing what to do next and the fans are coming back.
Malian coach Mohamed Magassouba’s post-match press conference was then interrupted, with African Football Confederation officials barging in and declaring the match would resume for the final three minutes.
Fans were then seen returning to the stands as officials discussed the bizarre situation on the sideline.
However, in a final dramatic twist, Tunisia appeared to refuse to come out and play the remainder of the game, although referee Sikazwe and Mali waited for them on the pitch.
The Zambian official then whistled again to call off the game, meaning Mali’s 1–0 victory will stand.
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