AFCON 2021: CAF Confirms Mali Win Over Tunisia Will Stand After Refereeing Controversy


Mali's controversial 1-0 win over Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations will stand despite the referee twice ending the match early, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced.

The AFCON’s organizing committee met on Thursday in Cameroon to ratify Mali’s victory.

While the game restarted on Wednesday after Sikazwe prematurely ended it after 85 minutes, he then blew full time when the game reached 89 minutes and 47 seconds.

“After examining the protest of Tunisia and all the match officials' reports, the organizing committee decided … to dismiss the protest lodged by the Tunisian team. To homologate the match result as 1-0 in favor of Mali,” the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement.

Tunisia had lodged an official protest over Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe's actions in the Group F encounter at the tournament in Cameroon.

Sikazwe appeared to blow the full-time whistle at the 85th-minute mark before noticing his mistake and continuing the match.

He also ended the game in the 90th minute, moments before any chance of added time - which had been expected due to two penalties being awarded, a red card, a cooling break and consultations with the video assistant referee technology.

Tunisian coach Mondher Kebaier and his technical staff reacted angrily, confronting Sikazwe on the pitch after the second whistle, with the officials being escorted off by stadium security.

Around 30 minutes later, officials attempted to resume the match but only Mali's players returned as Tunisia's refused to do so.

Tournament organisers dismissed the protest from Tunisia and the CAF said in a statement that it had decided to "homologate the match result as 1-0 in favour of Mali".

Sikazwe officiated the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final, two matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup final.

In November 2018, he was provisionally suspended by the CAF Disciplinary Board on suspicion of corruption for his handling of a CAF Champions League match.