By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka - Zambian’s President Edgar Lungu has described Zambian FIFA-rated referee Janny Sikazwe as a role model with exemplary standards worth emulating.
Sikazwe, the primary School teacher from Kapiri Mposhi in Central Zambia who took after his late soccer refereeing father, was among the officials picked for the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
On Tuesday, President Lungu expressed delight with Sakawe during the 88-year- old soccer showpiece. The Zambian referee had exhibited good sportsmanship and good standards that have put the country’s reputation on the international map, he said.
Sikazwe, 39, officiated over the Japan vs Poland and Belgium vs Panana matches and was the fourth official during the Belgium vs Brazil quarterfinal berth.
“The consideration by FIFA officials of Sikazwe to take up such responsibility was because of his good sportsmanship conduct,” Lungu said, adding that Sikazwe’s conduct and sportsmanship need to be replicated to many other Zambians.
He, however, warned Zambians against exhibiting the ‘pull him down’ syndrome and discouraged forthright thinking people and those aspiring to attain higher heights in life from pursuing their agendas in bettering their lives as the country needs such nationals.
“Don’t pull him down; people should get inspired by his work,” he stated.
“Sikazwe’s performance can help trigger and enhance the development of other sectors related to soccer and refereeing.”
The Zambia-born referee was among the African referees that had been retained in Russia besides Senegal-born Malang Diedhiou, Mehdi Charef from Algeria and
Bakary Gassama from Gambia for the second round of the tournament.
He rose to international fame in 2008 during the Confederation of Southern African Football in South Africa when he replaced another referee who had failed a fitness test.
He is renowned for allowing games to flow without stoppages and many yellow cards.
He officiated in the Tunisia 2-1 victory over Niger during the AFCON 2012. He was also one of the referees for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). He was the first official during the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup Final in Japan, and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final in Gabon.
In 2017, he was the referee during the finals of the Real Madrid vs Kashima Antlers in the World Club Championship, which ended 4-2.
Sikazwe received his FIFA refereeing licence in 2010.