Zambian official Janny Sikazwe has been labelled a “clown” after he did not give Canada a second penalty against Belgium in the World Cup.
The African official is best known for the bizarre incident in the Africa Cup of Nations which saw him blow the final whistle early on two occasions, during a group stage match between Tunisia and Mali. He initially blew the final whistle after the 85th minute, before hastily restarting play, only to blow it seconds before the 90th minute.
Despite his role in one of the strangest and most memorable refereeing interventions in football history, he was surprisingly chosen as one of the officials for the World Cup And he has found himself under the microscope again after he chose not to give a second spot-kick to the north Americans.
Read More: Canada fans fume as linesman flags them offside from a Belgium pass and costs penalty
Sikazwe was a busy man in the first half as his first big decision came after only eight minutes. He pointed to the spot after Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco handballed an effort from Tom Buchanan.
Unfortunately for Canada, Alphonso Davies fluffed his lines from 12 yards as his tame penalty was easily saved by imperious Belgian shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois. However, the energetic Canadians could have had another penalty after Laryea was brought down inside the penalty area.
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VAR was called upon yet again when he was brought down by Axel Witsel on the right side of the penalty area. However, the VAR team chose to stick with Sikazwe’s on-field decision, to the fury of Canada fans. "This referee is a clown. No wonder he reffed that disgrace game at AFCON," one disgruntled fan said on social media.
"Not surprised, the referees are a disaster. The man in charge of the game is the same legend that ended an African Cup of Nations game before full time …twice," another added, drawing on Sikazwe's previous disaster.
"How’s that not a penalty," another angry Canadian fan said. Sikazwe was a surprise inclusion in the tournament after his bizarre decision making in the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
However, when pushed upon his poor timekeeping in the African tournament, he blamed the sweltering Cameroonian heat. “I have seen people going for duties outside the country and come back in a casket – I was very close to coming back like that,” Sikazwe said shortly after the competition. “I was lucky I didn't go into a coma. It would have been a very different story.
"The doctors told me my body was not cooling down. It would have been just a little time before [I would have gone] into a coma, and that would have been the end. I think God told me to end the match. He saved me."
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