Though touched by the unfortunate incident on March 30, 2021, both nations still booked spots in the 2021 AFCON.
Ghanaian FIFA referee, Charles Bulu is reported to have lost consciousness while officiating the Africa Cup of Nations(AFCON) qualifying game pitting Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia. The incident took place on March 30, 2021 in Abidjan- Côte d’Ivoire.
Reports indicate that the Ethiopian’s were losing 3-1 to already qualified Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire after 80 minutes when the Ghanaian referee collapsed. He is said to have regained consciousness after an urgent medical attention and was pictured in an image circulating on social media being transported on a stretcher out of the pitch. Given that his health condition could not permit him continue the game, proposals for the fourth assistant referee, Kouassi Biro from Côte d’Ivoire popped up. But according to sources, the neutrality of the Ivorian referee in the game was questioned by the Ethiopians. Sources say since he could not officiate the game, he simply blew the final whistle leaving the score at 3-1 in favour of Côte d’Ivoire. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is yet to make a statement on the game but official standings from the football governing body indicates that both teams have qualified for the 2021 AFCON. Côte d’Ivoire secured the first spot with 13 points in Group K meanwhile Ethiopia got the second place with nine points.
Reports indicate that referee Charles Bulu, who is gradually recovering from his ill health, had replaced the original referee for the game who had not arrived at the time of kickoff.