Johannesburg - Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe who ended the Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali before the full 90 minutes were up, says he was suffering with heatstroke when he blew his whistle for full time prematurely.
Mali were 1-0 up on Tunisia on January 12 in their Group F clash in Limbe on January 12, before Sikazwe first blew for full time with the clock on 85 minutes. He was then informed he’d blown early and the match resumed. However, he still ended the game 13 seconds early and did not consider any injury time.
With temperatures above 30 degrees for many Afcon matches in Cameroon, the heat has had a debilitating effect on players and officials.
"The weather was so hot, and the humidity was about 85 percent," Sikazwe was quoted as saying on BBC Sport Africa on Monday.
"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.
"But we [match officials] believe we are soldiers and we go and fight.”
Sikazwe said he was becoming disorientated by the end of the match,
"I started getting confused. I could not hear anybody," he said.
"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.”
In November 2018, Sikazwe was provisionally suspended following allegations of corruption during an African Champions League match between Esperance and Primiero Agosto. However, he was later cleared during a disciplinary hearing and his suspension lifted in January 2019.