When the name Pierluigi Collina, 61, is mentioned all over the globe let alone in football quarters, all ears are called into attention for the priceless work that was done by the Italian on the pitch during his 18 years of refereeing, key among them between 1995 when he was listed as a FIFA referee and 2005 when he called it a day as a man of the whistle.
Collina who played as a centre-half for his local team during his teenage years is widely considered the best football referee of all time and won FIFA’s Best Referee of the Year award for six consecutive years (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003).
Fast forward 2022; we meet Janny Sikazwe, a Zambian referee that has stolen headlines at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Cameroon for a string of outrageous calls on matchday four of the 33rd edition of the biennial tournament.
The man who refereed the 2016 Club World Cup final, the 2017 AFCON final that pitted eventual winners Cameroon against Egypt in Gabon and two games at the 2018 World Cup, twice ended Mali versus Tunisia game prematurely, sparking absurd scenes at the Limbe Stadium in Cameroon and controversy around the globe.
Mali won the game 1-0 courtesy of an Ibrahima Kone 48th minute penalty, but the referee himself was the major talking point.
Sikazwe blew the final whistle in the 85th minute, reverted the decision to restart the match before again ending the match prematurely in the 89th minute, a match that was definitely destined for additional time due to stoppages that resulted from a red card incident and two VAR checks.
Nonetheless, that was that, and maybe Pierluigi Collina may have watched the game live or maybe a replay later on and wondered what might have been going through his colleague’s head.