Gabon President Ali Bango Ondimba has ordered an investigation into the horrific allegation. Gabon’s president has been rocked by reports that former coach Patrick Asoumou Aye sexually harassed players while he was in charge of the Gabon boys’ under-16 team.
The country’s sports minister said President Ali Bango Ondimba was taking the allegations “very seriously” and that such things were “unacceptable” to him.
The Guardian reports that Patrick Asoumou has raped underage players in the A-League.
Many of the victims complained to the Guardian that Patrick Asoumou, now Gabon’s top league technical director, had previously been in charge of the Under-16 team, urging players to go home. He named his house ‘Paradise’.
Some complained that they also sent boys from the group to other people. In 2016, Patrick Asoumou left the U-16 team. The Guardian did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
A former Gabon Football Federation official told the Guardian that in a board meeting in 2019, he accused Patrick Asoumou of sexual harassment. But the result is the opposite – the officer is fired.
The Gabon Football Federation (Fagafoot) also denied the allegations against Patrick. The Guardian reports that the players have not complained to the police about the lack of confidence in the country’s judiciary. However, FIFA has officially complained about this to FIFA.
“He (Patrick Asoumou) forced me to have sex,” Gabon told the Guardian, a victim who played for the Under-16s from 2015 to 2016. That was the condition of being in the team. Meanwhile, I had to leave home to help my family. Trying to be a professional footballer from the capital (Libreville), I knew this was the only way out. So I did what I needed to do to help my family. “
Patrick Asoumou is known as ‘Capello’ in Gabon football. The victim further added that Capello had raped many boys. Occasionally he would go to remote areas to find a new boy. He took advantage of the boys’ poverty, sending the boys to other officials as well. This has been the reality of Gabonese football for decades. No one was able to stop this process. There are so many vampires … hell for us. ‘
A day after the report was published in the Guardian on Thursday, Gabon’s Sports Minister Frank Nguyema told AFP that President Ali Bango Ondimba had “instructed the Minister of Justice to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of children in football.”
Gabon’s president has also ordered all sports federations in the country to “remove sexually abusive vampires.” The Gabon Football Federation fired Patrick Asoumou on Friday.
The federation has instructed the National Football League’s ethics committee to formally investigate the allegations against him. Federation spokesman Mausodji Engoma told AFP.