Zambia Women’s boss, Bruce Mwape is reportedly being investigated by FIFA over fresh claims of sexual misconduct.
Mwape, who has been in charge of the women’s side since 2018, is already being probed by FIFA over other sexual misconduct allegations although the coach denies all of these.
The African nation were eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage after two heavy defeats to Japan and Spain, although they ended their campaign with a memorable 3-1 win over Costa Rica on Monday – their first-ever victory at the tournament.
However, according to The Guardian, Mwape has been accused of rubbing his hands over the chest of one of his players two days before that final match.
The report states FIFA confirmed it received an official complaint after several players witnessed Mwape acting inappropriately, as one source said: ‘It’s not appropriate for a coach to be touching a player’s breasts’.
Those who saw the incident contemplated reporting it immediately but were fearful of the impact it could have on selection for their last game.
This meant that after their group stage campaign finished the incident was then reported to a FIFA delegate who was with the squad throughout the tournament.
It is understood Andrew Kamanga, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, has been informed of the allegations.
A FIFA spokesperson told The Guardian: ‘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.’
The world governing body continued: ‘Anyone who wishes to report allegations or information related to abuse in football can do so via FIFA’s confidential reporting platform, with all information that is submitted to FIFA handled in the strictest of confidence.
‘In addition, FIFA offers support and assistance to ensure the safety of those who report a safeguarding issue, including witnesses who come forward and give testimony in FIFA judicial cases.
‘Where guilt is established, FIFA takes the strongest possible sanctions, including removing people from the game for life. Our track record demonstrates this.’
The previous allegations Mwape was facing surrounded the 63-year-old allegedly coercing players into having sex with him if they wanted to keep their place in the team.
Other Zambian coaches and officials were also accused of sexual misconduct and investigated, including the Under 17 girls’ team coach.
One female player, who did not want to be named, told The Guardian: ‘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.’
The same allegations then reared their head again during the World Cup when journalists were stopped from asking questions about the aforementioned investigation.