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Referee declares premature final whistle with heat stroke

Referee Janny Sikazwe from Zambia involuntarily gained fame at the Africa Cup of Nations because he twice blew the whistle too early in the preliminary round match between Tunisia and Mali (0-1).

A heat stroke was the reason for his dropouts, the football referee now explained to the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe”. “I was confused and didn’t feel anything. I stopped hearing my assistants telling me that they were trying to reach me, to help me because they saw something was wrong,” Sikazwe said.

In the hospital he had a series of examinations, blood tests, cardiac and ultrasound examinations made. “They called it heat stroke, but it could have been much worse. I could have gone into a coma within five minutes, they told me at the hospital. I could have come back in a coffin,” Sikazwe said.

The referee blew the whistle for the first time after 85:06 minutes. After protests, he then allowed play to continue – and finally ended the game after 89:45 minutes.

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