Zambia women football team boss Bruce Mwape accused and under investigation of sexual abuse

Zambia Women’s football team boss Bruce Mwape has been accused of sexual abuse in the Zambian women game. Mwape and the women under-17 coach Kaluba Kangwa are among the Zambian football employees reported at FIFA over sexual misconduct.

Mwape, 63, was appointed as the Zambian women’s team head coach in May 2018 and has guided them to qualify for Women’s World Cup first time in their history.

Zambia has been placed in Group C with Spain, Japan and Costa Rica and will play matches in New Zealand.

Ahead of their World Cup campaign, The Guardian reports that Bruce Mwape has been accused of and under investigation of sexual misconduct.

It is understood that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) reported the case for an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in the women’s game to Fifa, football’s governing body in September 2022.

It’s unclear whether Mwape is still under investigation or cleared free of such accusations but FIFA who has opened investigation has not published anything yet on Bruce Mwape.

“If he [Mwape] wants to sleep with someone, you have to say yes,” one player who did not want to be named told The Guardian. “It’s normal that the coach sleeps with the players in our team.”

One source who knows the players said they had received threats, not from Mwape himself. “They are being threatened with punitive action if they dare say anything about what happened,” the source said. “The federation is turning a blind eye because the women have had good results. It’s their way to show to the public and the authorities success and a good image. But behind the scenes, it’s very ugly.”

Mwape himself was yet to speak about the allegations and only referred questions sent to him by The Guardian, about his responds to the allegations, to the Football Association of Zambia press office.

A FAZ spokesperson in an interview with The Guardian also said they had not received any official complaints from anyone on the allegations but considered those rumours to be serious and had opened an inquiry into the matter.

“Although we have no record of official complaints from anyone on the allegations, we consider these allegations very serious and have opened an inquiry into the matter,” said the FAZ’s general secretary, Adrian Kashala, in the statement. “We shall collaborate with the Zambia Police Service and other relevant stakeholders in dealing with this matter.”

According to the FAZ’s president, Andrew Kamanga, the investigation was referred to police and Fifa to ensure that it is not accused of “taking sides”.

“We prefer that an independent body such as Fifa which has the capacity to do it will be able to handle the inquiries,” he said in October 2022. “Definitely we are going to take sanctions; we have enough rules and regulations within football which we can deal with.”

The Guardian claims it had contacted the Zambian police for comments on Mwape’s investigation but no concrete remarks was made.

It is understood that Fifa is aware of the accusations made against Mwape and has been in touch with the FAZ to investigate. However, a Fifa spokesperson said it could not comment on ongoing investigations. “Please note that as a general policy, the independent ethics committee does not comment on whether or not investigations are under way into alleged cases,” he said. “As usual, any information the ethics committee may like to share will be communicated at their discretion.”

Mwape’s sexual abuse investigation has re-surfaced in his team’s preparation for the World Cup this month in Australia and News Zealand.

Zambia lost only one, to Republic of Ireland, in their last four games to the World Cup. The defeated Tanzania and Germany and drew 3-3 with Switzerland.

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