anny Sikazwe, the referee who blew for full-time early in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations clash between Tunisia and Mali, has claimed he could have died of heatstroke if the match went on any longer.
The Zambian official sparked controversy when he ended the group-stage fixture 13 seconds early on January 12.
Sikazwe had been forced to restart the match after blowing his full-time whistle five minutes before the full 90 minutes was up.
Tunisia were losing 1-0 and playing against 10 men when Sikazwe ended the match early for a second time. It left members of their coaching staff furious and they stormed onto the pitch to confront the referee.
However, Sikazwe has now thanked God for saving him from death.
“I have seen people going for duties outside the country and come back in a casket,” he told reporters after arriving back in Zambia.
“I was very close to coming back like that.
“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.”