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Chaos in the African Cup


Nobody understood very well why at 80 minutes of the Tunisia-Mali of the African Cup the Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe showed the fourth referee a five with his hand. The explanation came when the referee decreed the end of the clash just after 85 minutes to the outrage of the players and the coaching staff of the Tunisian team, which was losing 0-1. Surrounded by the North African players and coaches, Sikazwe, also coached by the fourth official, decided to resume the match. The referee seemed to have confused the 80th minute with the regulation 90th minute. No one could expect what happened again later.

Bechir Ben Saïd, Montassar Talbi, Bilel Ifa, Dylan Bronn, Hamza Mathlouthi, Ellyes Skhiri, Ali Maâloul, Aissa Laidouni (Anis Ben Slimane, min. 66), Khazri, Naim Sliti (Touzghar, min. 78) and Hannibal Mejbri (Saif-Eddine Khaoui, min. 45)
MLI Mali


Ibrahim Mounkoro, Hamari Traore, Falaye Sacko, Kiki, Haidara, Ama dou Haidara (Lassana Couibaly, min. 80), Adame Traore (Moussa Doumbia, min. 72), Diadie Samassekou, Moussa Djenepo (El Bilal Toure, min. 80), Adama Traoré (Yves Bissouma, min. 58) and Ibrahima Koné


0-1 min. 47: Ibrahima Koné.

Yellow cards Hamari Traore (min. 17 ), Hamza Mathlouthi (min. 21), Moussa Djenepo (min. 32) and Ellyes Skhiri (min. 46)

Red Cards El Bilal Toure (min. 86)

In the 88th minute, Sikazwe sent off El Bilal, a player from Mali. The VAR told the referee to review the play, considering the sanction excessive, but Sikazwe reaffirmed it. At 89 minutes and 50 seconds, before reaching 90 minutes and without adding the logical extra time in a match with two penalties and a screen display after a VAR warning, Sikazwe again decreed the end before time of this match of the first day of group F of the African Cup that is played in Cameroon. The tournament began on January 9 and will play its final on February 6.

“He has deprived us of seven and eight minutes of additional time. He sent us to the locker room despite our protests and then, 35 minutes later, he showed up in the locker room to say that we had to restart the game”, Mondher Kebaier, Tunisia coach, told a press conference.

The scenes that took place in the Cameroonian stadium of Limbé were surreal. Fans who had left the stands returned to the stands and Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba had to leave the press conference to return to coach his team. The organization of the African Cup, at the request of the African Football Confederation, had decided to play the remaining seconds and the obligatory additional time.

The Tunisian team, however, refused to resume the match despite being outnumbered. At first, the game was considered lost with the 0-1 that was reflected on the scoreboard. However, the organization of the tournament plans to analyze the bizarre episode of Limbé and some sources even point to a disqualification of Tunisia for refusing to play.

“Our players were already applying baths of ice and were in the showers. After twice decreeing the end early, does it come 35 minutes later for us to play what was left? I have not seen anything like it in my 30-year career,” added Mondher Kebaier, the coach of Tunisia. “We'll see what decision the organization makes. What has happened is inexplicable”, he concluded.

The mess that was experienced in the stadium left aside the development of the match. Mali took the lead with a penalty goal in the 48th minute, from striker Ibrahima Koné. Tunisia had a chance to equalize in the 77th minute with another penalty. Mounkoro, goalkeeper of Mali, stopped the shot of Khazri, striker of Saint-Éttiene. Mounkoro was designated as the best footballer in a match that will go down in the history of the African Cup.

Mauritania, without anthem

Chaos took over the day of the African tournament. In addition to the surreal scene experienced in Tunisia-Mali, another bizarre episode was added before the start of Mauritania-Gambia. The Mauritanian players did not get out of their astonishment when they found that the anthem that sounded in the run-up to the match was not that of their country.

The organization made a mistake on two occasions with the anthem of Mauritania, provoking the outrage of its footballers, assistants and coaching staff. These errors leave the organization of the tournament in a very bad place. “Africa should be much more organizational,” Thomas N'Kono, an exporter from Cameroon, recently said in an interview with Newsfresh.

This match between Mauritania and Gambia was played late at the Limbé stadium after the Tunisia-Mali scandal. The victory corresponded to Gambia thanks to a goal by Jallow after ten minutes. This edition of the African Cup is played this winter after its postponement last June 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The day De Burgos Bengoetxea's clock stopped

Last season, in the Seville-Granada match played on April 25 at the Sánchez Pizjuán, Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea whistled the end of the match in the 93rd minute when, previously, he had indicated four minutes of added time to complete the match. After listening surprised to the early whistle, the Granada players, who had scored 2-1 in the 90th minute (with a penalty goal from Soldier), crowded around the referee claiming the remaining minute to complete the margin reflected in the electronic board.

The assistants quickly went to De Burgos Bengoetxea and warned him of the error. Immediately afterwards, the referee apologized to the Granada players and demanded that the Sevilla players, who were already heading down the locker room tunnel, return to the field of play. Some had even exchanged shirts and had to retrace their steps. “It has stopped me”, De Burgos Bengoetxea repeated, pointing to the watch on his wrist. The ball boys had collected the balls and the interview sets were already set up at the foot of the field. But, seven minutes after the first end, the match was resumed. At minute 94, with no notable moves, the referee decreed the correct ending.

The referee explained it this way in the match report: “Due to a timing error, and although he had indicated that four added minutes were going to be played, I signaled the end of the match in the 93rd minute. After being warned of the error by my referee team, I asked the local team to return to the field of play in order to play the remaining minute to play. After playing that previously undisputed minute, I indicated the end without any other incident”.

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