ALAS the Cameroon 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final tournament got underway without former champions Zambia as Zimbabwe ‘escaped’ the wrath of FIFA and CAF to ably compete at the continental premier competition.
As stated in the previous article, it would have been an injustice for FIFA/CAF to eject Zimbabwe from the tournament and replace them with teams that failed to qualify but there was something to smile about at the AFCON where Zambia has stolen the headlines.
Of course the Chipolopolo are nowhere near Cameroon but the country’s top referee Janny Sikazwe was embroiled in some controversy in the AFCON Group F clash between Mali and Tunisia on January 12 which the former won 1-0.
I truly sympathise with Sikazwe though not really sure what led to his actions on Wednesday. As we wait for the investigations to be concluded as to why Sikazwe first ended the match in the 85 minute before allowing play up to the 89th minute when he ended play, the man needs the support of every Zambian as he goes through this difficult period.
Such are mistakes that are difficult to overcome especially that the world was watching and the coming of technology meant his blunders reached every corner of the globe to, as stated earlier, to make Zambia famous.
Even people who didn’t know Zambia existed managed to Google Sikazwe’s name and read more
about a country that is so passionate about football and yet only represented at such an important tournament by
As CAF carries its inquest following the Tunisians brutal protests, Zambian’s would do well to rally behind
their man-who has ably represented the country so well in the past at the Russia 2018 World Cup finals not
forgetting the FIFA World Cup final.
At the end of the day, he is human and prone to make mistakes and let us not pull our own down. He is not the
first referee nor will he be the last to make mistakes.
Sikazwe will need Zambians to comfort him so that he continues to mentor other referees to take up the mantle
from him. It should be every loving Zambian hope that Sikazwe is not given a harsh punishment looking at
the milestone he has created not only for himself but Zambia, Africa and the world at large.
And talking about the AFCON, a lot has been said concerning Zambia’s absence and what needs to be done
ahead of the 2023 AFCON finals slated for Ivory Coast.
Talk alone, without action, would not take the country anywhere and thus it would be upon FAZ and the
various stakeholders to come up with tangible ways to improve our game at the senior level and ensure Zambia
qualify for the next edition.
It has been a bitter pill to watch teams like, with all due respect, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia at the
But again I realised how these teams have been progressing while my beloved Zambia, remains a powerhouse on our lips and yet lagging behind and missing out competing at such an important competition.
A lot of work would seriously need to be done to get the 2012 champions back to the level to compete against
the likes of Tunisia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Morocco and this is the best time to reorganise when the international
calendar is inactive for Zambia.
With the draws for the next edition set for January 21, planning should almost immediately begin with the
employment of the capable coach to top the agenda.
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