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2022 World Cup: Controversial Zambian referee Sikazwe to take charge of Belgium vs Canada game

5:34 PM WAT 21/11/2022
Janny Sikazwe
Zambian Janny Sikazwe is appointed the centre referee in the World Cup match between Belgium and Canada to be played on Wednesday.
  • Sikazwe hit headlines after his mistakes at Afcon
  • Fifa selected him to officiate 2022 World Cup
  • It is Sikazwe's second World Cup

WHAT HAPPENED: The experienced referee hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when he controversially officiated the Tunisia-Mali game in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations match, with the latter eventually winning the game 1-0.

Zambian official Sikazwe initially blew his whistle to indicate the end of the match in the 85h minute, before play resumed after the error only for Sikazwe to again blow before the 90th minute. The game finished after the second mistake, with around 17 seconds of normal time still on the clock, sparking outrage from Tunisia's players and coaching staff, who were attempting to overturn the narrow deficit.

Later on, it was discovered the referee was not okay and the situation might have been worse.

The Zambian made it to the final list of the referees officiating the ongoing competition in Qatar, and will be in action on Wednesday as confirmed by Fifa.

WHAT IS SAID: "Match officials designations at the Fifa World Cup, Group F [to be played on] 23 November 2022, at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium," the organisers posted.

Belgium against Canada; referee: Janny Sikazwe, first assistant referee Jerson Dos Santos, second assistant referee, Arsenio Marengula."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It is not the first time Sikazwe is officiating at the World Cup. In 2018, he was the centre referee in the match between Belgium and Panama. He went into history books as the first Zambian referee to officiate at the World Cup. His second match was between Japan and Poland.

Sikazwe was also among the referees who officiated the 2016 Fifa Club World Cup held in Japan.

VERDICT: Sikazwe is an experienced coach who can deliver at the highest level. He has a chance on Wednesday to prove the same.

WHAT NEXT: The 43-year-old will hope to be involved again after the Wednesday game. Belgium and Canada are in Group F alongside Morocco and Croatia.