'I got confused - I couldn't hear anybody', these were the words of Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe to the media when he arrived back home from Cameroon.
Sikazwe, who caused a furore two weeks ago when he ended the match between Mali and Tunisia before time and then tried to get the teams back on the pitch some 30 minutes later to play an additional four minutes, said the high humid weather in Limbe was the reason for his erratic performance in the second half during a clash between Tunisia and Mali
"The weather was so hot, and the humidity was about 85%. After the warm-up, I felt the conditions were something else. We were trying to drink water but you could not feel the water quenching you – nothing,” said Sikazwe.
Sikazwe noted that it took the hand of God to reach the time he blundered and he escaped death by a whisker.
"I have seen people going for duties outside the country and coming back in a casket, 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,” said Sikazwe.
Sikazwe said he was not able to communicate with the rest of his officiating team hence ending the game.
"Everything I was putting on was hot. Even the communication equipment, I wanted to throw it away. It was so hot. I started getting confused. I could not hear anybody. I reached the point where I could start hearing some noise and I thought someone was communicating with me and people were telling me 'no you ended the match. It was a very strange situation. I was going through my head to find who told me to end the match. Maybe I was talking to myself, I don't know. That is how bad the situation was," he said.
The referee further noted that his body temperature wasn’t responding to medication.
"My family, people of Zambia, you are lucky I am talking to you right now like this. 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," he added.
The Zambian official blew the final whistle early twice during the opening match of Group F in the Africa Cup of Nations receiving a wave of criticism after he made a number of controversial decisions including blowing for full-time in the 85th minute of the tie.
However, Sikazwe once again appeared to make a mistake by ending the tie in the 89th minute, sparking more outrage from the North African nation, who were trailing 1-0 at the time.
Sikazwe had previously taken charge of the 2017 Nations Cup final and two group matches at the 2018 World Cup and expects to officiate a game in the Confederation Cup, CAF’s second-tier continental club competition, by the end of February.?