Janny Sikazwe was under special observation at the World Cup match between Belgium and Canada. Image: www.imago-images.de / IMAGO/Charlotte Wilson
World Cup 2022
Even before the World Cup match between Belgium and Canada had even kicked off, referee Janny Sikazwe was making headlines. Some fans were worried about his pick for the game – but not because the Zambian man has a particularly tough line or a troubled past with either side.
No, fans were concerned because Sikazwe raised the question of whether he can read the clock correctly at the Africa Cup of Nations in January. In the game between Mali and Tunisia, he blew the whistle twice too early, to the astonishment of everyone involved. First in minute 85:06 and then – after the players pointed out his mistake – again after 89:45 minutes.
Sikazwe then had to leave the field under the protection of security forces. The Tunisians in particular, who were 1-0 down at the time, protested loudly at the time. The African association CAF later rejected a formal protest.
Football fans demonstrate good memory
Some Twitter users took the scandal from back then as an opportunity to post jokes and photomontages before and during the World Cup match between Belgium and Canada.
The French sports betting provider Parions Sport edited an image in such a way that it looked as if Sikazwe would end the World Cup game after 0:17 minutes. “And it’s over! The Belgium Canada game ends 0-0,” wrote Parions Sport.
Another user also jokingly expects an early final whistle. “The whole game depends on this man! If you hear a whistle in the 85th minute, that’s normal…” he wrote on Twitter along with a screenshot of the moment Sikazwe saw the Africa Cup of Nations game in January blew the whistle too early for the first time.
Fans also joke about the new overtime rule
The fact that this referee of all people is now of the whistle of a game at the World Cup, which will have more overtime than almost any tournament before due to a new interpretation of the rules, provides additional laughter. “You’re not dreaming. In the competition with the longest stoppage time, this is the referee of the night”writes a user to a photo of Sikazwe.
Fifa chief referee Pierluigi Collina recently announced that “seven, eight, nine minutes of overtime” are to be expected in a normal World Cup game in Qatar. This should more consistently compensate for the time lost through goal celebrations, substitutions, injuries or dismissals.
(with material from dpa)
The Dutch national team celebrated a perfect start in their opening game against Senegal (2-0). After the Elftal didn’t even qualify for the last World Cup, they hope to be able to win the tournament for the first time this year.