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FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Zambian Referee Sikazwe Growing From Strength To Strength

Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe named among the seventeen centre referees to handle the final phase of the on-going Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Top Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe was on Wednesday, July 4th named among the seventeen centre referees to handle the final phase of the on-going Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The man from Kapiri Mposhi made history earlier on in the tournament when he became the first Zambian to officiate a World Cup match after he handled a group G encounter between Belgium and Panama with a group H match between Japan and Poland.

Despite his massive achievements, Sikazwe has a very humble background like many whistle men in Zambia. Sikazwe was born in a small town of  Kapiri Mposhi in 1979.

After receiving his FIFA license in 2010, he has quickly climbed the ladder, first progressing  through international youth matches before taking charge of African Cup of Nations qualifiers in 2012.

Since then, he has moved up the ranks and has a reputation for being a lenient arbiter who likes the game to flow, averaging three cards per game. However, in his first ever World Cup match, Sikazwe issued 8 yellow (3) to Belgium and (5) to Panama which was the most in a single match since Howard Webb’s seven in the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup between Holland and Spain.

Prior to the FIFA World Cup, the biggest moment of his career came when Sikazwe took charge of the 2016 Club World Cup Final featuring Real Madrid against Kashima Antlers.

The match was not short of controversy. Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, who, was already on a booking when in the final moments of normal time, fouled a Kashima Antlers attacker to stop a counter-attack something that looked like a clear yellow card offense.

janny-sikazwe2Ramos however avoided a red card despite Sikazwe reaching into his pocket for a good few seconds, but he eventually pulled out his hand minus a card, allowing Ramos to last the rest of the game.

“It was only for a miscommunication between my assistant and me,” Sikazwe told Filgoal.

“He told me of the foul and told me in the earpiece that ‘no card.’ However, I understood ‘card’,” he added.

A year later he was back in the lime light as he officiated the final of the 2017 Africa Cup of nations which Cameroon won beating Egypt.

Sikazwe is widely regarded as the best referee in Africa alongside Bakary Papa Gassama of Gambia and has been in charge of many high profile matches including the Super Eagles versus The Pharaohs 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Day 3 qualifying match at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.

Having made it to the final phase, it wouldn’t be ‘out of his league’ to officiate the final of the World Cup but for that we have to wait and see.

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