Zambia’s football association expressed its “surprise” regarding the allegations of misconduct involving their women’s coach during the ongoing World Cup. FIFA has initiated an investigation into the matter after receiving a complaint without disclosing the specific nature of the allegation.
According to a report in the Guardian newspaper, the Zambian coach, Bruce Mwape, has been accused of inappropriate behavior, allegedly involving the rubbing of a player’s breasts after a training session. FIFA is taking the matter seriously and has a well-defined process to handle such complaints within the football community.
Zambia’s women’s football program has been marred by allegations of improper conduct in the past as well. Last year, when reports of misbehavior emerged, the Football Association of Zambia conducted an investigation. However, the findings of that probe and any subsequent actions taken were not made public.
Throughout the World Cup, Mwape faced questions about these allegations during press conferences. He vehemently denied the accusations, referring to them as “fake” and dismissing any suggestions of his resignation.
As of now, Zambia has exited the tournament at the group stage in Australia and New Zealand and the team has returned home. The investigation into the misconduct allegations continues, and FIFA remains committed to ensuring a fair and thorough inquiry into the matter.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’d like to clarify that there’s no way I would retire without a valid reason,” he asserted when questioned by reporters.
“It’s possible that your perception is based on media reports or rumors, but the truth needs to be revealed, not just assumptions.”
During the World Cup, the New Zealand Police were notified of an alleged incident, but after conducting initial investigations, they determined that no further action was necessary.
Despite both the involvement of the police and FIFA, the Football Association of Zambia claimed that it had not received any recent complaints from players or members of its traveling delegation.
In an official statement, the association expressed surprise at the allegations of misconduct by the coach and emphasized its commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency among players and staff.
The football association also mentioned that all training sessions had been recorded by its media team and a FIFA crew, and upon reviewing the footage, no evidence of any incident was found.
However, the association clarified that it would take appropriate disciplinary measures if an official complaint was filed or substantial evidence was presented.