Sports

Gabonese soccer boss allegedly jailed over child abuse

Pierre-Alain Mounguengui, the president of the Gabonese Football Federation (Fégafoot), has been indicted and placed under a committal order in Libreville for “failure to disclose crimes of pedophilia” in a case involving the alleged sexual assault of hundreds of minors, according to his lawyer.

 

In December 2021, the scandal broke when Patrick Assoumou Eyi, the former coach of the Gabonese national under-17 team and a well-known figure in Gabonese soccer circles known by the nickname “Capello,” was sentenced to prison after being accused of hundreds of rapes and sexual assaults on children for whom he was responsible in the course of his official duties for several years.

 

Assoumou Eyi was the technical director of the soccer league of Estuaire, which is located in the province of the capital, Libreville, since 2017 and until his arrest.

 

Several other club coaches, including Orphée Mickala and Triphel Mabicka, have been indicted on the same allegations and sentenced to prison time after his detention. Each of the three guys faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail.

 

Mr. Pierre-Alain Mounguengui (64), who was re-elected as president of the Fégafoot at the end of April, “has been indicted for failing to denounce incidents of paedophilia, which he contests,” according to his lawyer, Charles-Henri Gey. ‘He has been placed under a committal order, and we have urged that he be released on bail for the time being.’

 

AFP received confirmation from Romain Molina, a French journalist who published the investigation for the British newspaper The Guardian, at the end of April. “Mr. Mounguengui is accused of having covered up the alleged attacks committed by +Capello+,” Molina said.

 

“We are in a state of delirium, and there has been no identification of a victim,” Gey stated, adding that the matter is merely a pretext for Pierre-Alain Mounguengui to be removed from his position as president of the Fégafoot.

 

On Tuesday, Fifa launched a disciplinary investigation into the three coaches accused of pedophilia, as well as Mounguengui, who has been suspended.

 

Patrick Assoumou Eyi “apparently molested hundreds of young boys in the course of his duties,” according to Gabon’s sports minister, Franck Nguema, who stated the allegations in December.

 

Taekwondo has been affected by the scandal as well: Martin Avera, a former coach known by the nickname “Master Chaka,” was indicted in Libreville for pedophilia and sexual abuse and sentenced to prison in January.

 

In response to the involvement of “Capello,” the Gabonese president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, referred to a “very serious and unacceptable” case and ordered the government to request that the justice department open an investigation not only into soccer, but also into all national sports federations, in order to “eradicate potential sexual predators.”

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