World football’s governing body FIFA has received reports about and is investigating Zambian Women’s national team coach Bruce Mwape, who has been accused a second time of sexually inappropriate behaviour towards his players.
Recall that Zambia was the only African team to exit the 2023 Women’s World Cup in the first round despite claiming a historic first-ever tournament win against Costa Rica.
The team faces further problems after some players accused head coach, Mwape, of inappropriate touching, leading to a FIFA investigation of the gaffer’s behaviour.
According to the Guardian’s sources, several Zambia Women’s teammates witnessed the coach rubbing his hands over the chest area of one of the players last Friday, with the informant quoted as saying, “It’s not appropriate for a coach to be touching a player’s breasts.”
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The members of the team involved reportedly decided to wait until the end of the Copper Queens’ World Cup campaign and communicated their concerns to a FIFA delegate who accompanied the team throughout their short stay at the World Cup.
It is the second such accusation against Mwape after the coach was referred to FIFA for investigation by Zambia’s FA in September 2022 following accusations against him and the former U17 national team coach Kaluba Kangwa.
On that occasion, Mwape was accused of using his position of power to gain sexual favours, with an unnamed player quoted by the Guardian as saying, “If he [Mwape] wants to sleep with someone, you have to say yes. It’s normal that the coach sleeps with the players in our team.”
Mwape has been under investigation by FIFA since then, with the FAZ opting for an independent review after being accused of shielding the national team coach by threatening whistleblowers.
Mwape was allowed to lead Zambia to the 2023 World Cup despite the initial accusations which are still under investigation by FIFA, but the governing body has stated that they are taking the probe into accusations against the gaffer seriously.
They released a statement saying, “FIFA takes any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously and has a clear process in place for anyone in football who wants to report an incident.
“We can confirm that a complaint has been received in relation to the Zambian women’s national team and this is currently being investigated. We cannot provide further details regarding an ongoing investigation for obvious confidentiality reasons.”
FIFA also noted that if Mwape is found guilty upon investigation, he could be driven out of the game permanently, saying, “Where guilt is established, FIFA takes the strongest possible sanctions, including removing people from the game for life. Our track record demonstrates this.”
Mwape continues to deny the accusations brought against him and described the complaints against him as “fake allegations”.
Ahead of Zambia’s World Cup campaign, the coach was asked about the pending investigations against him, and he replied, “It has taken about a year now. You are still talking about the same allegations.
As far as I’m concerned they are fake allegations.”
Investigations will continue into the old and new allegations against Mwape with FIFA leading the efforts to get to the bottom of accusations brought against the Zambian head coach.
BY IYABO AINA
Publisher Of News Rain Nigeria