Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe has been chosen by Fifa to officiate at the Club World Cup, getting the nod ahead of Gambia’s Bakary Papa Gassama.
Gassama had the whistle for Mamelodi Sundowns’ tense African Champions League final, second leg, clash against Zamalek in Alexandria last month and looks a sure-bet to retain his title of CAF Referee of the Year.
But Sikazwe has been chosen for the Club World Cup and is also no stranger to South African fans.
He was the official in the middle during the controversial Cosafa Castle Cup final in Namibia in June that South Africa won 3-2 against Botswana after being awarded two penalties.
His performance led to an incredible outburst from Botswana coach Peter Butler, who called the Zambian’s performance “shameful and disgusting”.
Each of Fifa’s six confederations gets to nominate a team of match officials for the Club World Cup. The assistant referees from CAF are the Angolan Jerson dos Santos and Berhe Tesfagiorghis. Gassama has been chosen as the fourth official.
Sundowns are competing in the Club World Cup for the first time. The tournament is played in Japan and will take place from December 8-18.
Sundowns will enter at the quarterfinal stage against the winner of the preliminary tie between Auckland City of New Zealand and the host qualifier from Japan.