Janny Sikazwe, the referee who blew for full-time early in an Africa Cup of Nations match claims he felt he was on the verge of death as he officiated the Group F match between Mali and Tunisia.
Controversial AFCON referee speaks, says he could have died
Sikazwe said he kept hearing strange voices during the match
"I have seen people going for duties outside the country and come 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," he said.
Speaking to Zambian media on his arrival back in the country, Sikazwe said the impact of the weather in Cameroon was the reason for his erratic performance in the second half.
He further revealed how doctors were worried after the match, telling him his high temperature almost led to a coma.
"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," he said.
The Group F match in Limbe on Wednesday, January 12 concluded in controversy as coaching staff from Tunisia, who were trailing 1-0 and playing against 10 men, ran onto the pitch to confront Sikazwe and his assistants about the early finish.
However, Sikazwe stood by his decision and needed security staff to escort him off the pitch. Mali came back out onto the pitch 40 minutes after the controversy began, but Tunisia refused to play on and Sikazwe ended the game for a third time.
"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." he said.
"Everything I was putting on was hot. Even the communication equipment, I wanted to throw it away. It was so hot. 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 concluded.