Zambia coach faces new allegation of inappropriately touching female worker at 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

Zambian women's national team head coach Bruce Mwape. IMAGE/ FAZA

Zambia coach faces new allegation of inappropriately touching female worker at 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

Festus Chuma 16:45 - 16.05.2024

Zambia head coach faces new allegations of sexual misconduct at the Women's World Cup prompting a FIFA investigation.

Zambian women's national team head coach Bruce Mwape faces new allegations of sexual misconduct after a FIFA contractor accused him of inappropriately touching her breast during the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

These fresh accusations come on the heels of similar claims made against Mwape by a player in August last year.

FIFA has been investigating allegations from August that Mwape rubbed his hands over the chest of a player after a training session before their historic victory over Costa Rica at the end of July in Hamilton.

New details have emerged indicating that before the tournament, Mwape was already under scrutiny for alleged sexual misconduct involving several players. 

The Zambian Football Association (FAZ) had referred these concerns to FIFA, prompting an investigation.

In a new development, it has been disclosed that FIFA received an official complaint accusing the 64-year-old Mwape of touching the breast of a FIFA contractor from New Zealand. 

"I remember him putting his hand on my shoulder to say 'Good morning,' but then he went again and wiped his hand straight down the front, obviously touching my boob," the contractor told the Guardian. 

"It happened so quickly. It felt wrong to me but I also questioned whether it had just been a mistake. But after that, his relationship with me was very different. So I think he knew what he had done was not appropriate."

The incident allegedly occurred while the team was staying at an Auckland hotel before their match against Spain.

The contractor, who wished to remain anonymous, signed a statement that was sent to FIFA via its safeguarding officer.

She was also advised to report the incident to New Zealand police but chose not to, in order to avoid disrupting Zambia's preparations for the tournament and then reported the incident to FAZ’s general secretary, Reuben Kamanga.

"I felt humiliated and used," the contractor conveyed to Kamanga in a WhatsApp message seen by the Guardian.

Kamanga responded by asking if she would be "free to testify should we require you to do so?" to which she replied, "What do I need to sign from FAZ to testify? I would have thought you would 100% wish this to be a written statement."

Neither Mwape, Kamanga, nor FAZ has responded to questions regarding the incident. 

Zambia’s participation in the Paris Olympics is now in jeopardy, with FIFA threatening FAZ with suspension following accusations of money-laundering offenses against its president, Andrew Kamanga, and "undue influence by third parties."

FIFA is currently considering whether to impose sanctions after requesting more information from Kamanga and other senior FAZ members last week.

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