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Tunisia vs Mali: AFCON officials investigate time-keeping mistakes

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Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe blew the final whistle early twice during the controversial group-stage game.

Mali started their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Wednesday. The narrow win, however, does not show the full extent of the game’s drama and chaos.

Following two penalties and half a dozen VAR checks, the referee suddenly blew the full-time whistle in the 85th minute. The decision infuriated Tunisia’s staff members and players, convincing referee Janny Sikazwe to restart the game. 

In the remaining minutes, the Zambian referee sent Mali striker El Bilal Toure out with a straight red card. He then, once again, ended the game early, this time on 89 minutes and 49 seconds. Almost half an hour later, the officials decided to restart the game again. However, this time Tunisian players did not show up to play the game’s closing minutes.

On Thursday, the Confederation of African Football announced they had started the investigation over the incident. 

An official statement reads: “In relation to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali played in Limbe on 12 January 2022, CAF is gathering all the necessary reports from the officials at the match.

“CAF is forwarding these documents to the competent bodies of CAF.

“At this stage, CAF is not in a position to make further comment until the responsible bodies indicate the way forward.”