Sierra Leone's women's coach suspended over sexual abuse claims

1 year ago 3569
Abdulai BahAbdulai Bah has denied the allegations

The head coach of Sierra Leone's women's football team Abdulai Bah has been suspended with immediate effect over allegations of "professional misconduct".

The Sierra Leone FA (SLFA) said in a statement that Bah, who has denied any wrongdoing, has stepped aside pending investigations.

The decision came a few days after the SLFA said it would investigate allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation of players in its women's national teams.

The suspension of Bah came just hours before the Sierra Queens played a crunch African Women Cup of Nations qualifier against The Gambia, with his assistant now in temporary charge.

The SLFA vice president Alie Badara Tarawallie said they suspended Bah after they received copies of text messages relating to alleged sexual harassment.

"We take the allegations seriously and we're going to investigate them thoroughly," Tarawallie told BBC Sport Africa.

"The SLFA will not condone any form of sexual harassment and intimidation, and whosoever is found wanting will be brought to book.

"We're encouraging people to come forward with any credible evidence against any individual within and outside the FA, but we are also discouraging people not to cook up stories."

Also coach of Sierra Leone's male African Nations Championship (Chan), Bah has accepted to step aside but says he's done nothing wrong.

"I must say I was utterly shocked and spellbound in disbelief," the coach said in a statement.

"The allegations against me are completely untrue and unfounded. As a professional, I have always maintained the highest standards required.

"As a family man, I will never molest or use my position to gain any physical and emotional advantage against young women in the national team who are young enough to be my children.

"I have accepted the SLFA directives to step aside until further investigation is carried out. I will however hope this investigation will be carried out swiftly to prove my innocence."

"It is my hope that investigation into such matters don't take forever as my only source of livelihood is from football which is being affected by claims and allegations that have no basis."

Bah, who took charge of the Sierra Queens in August 2020, is in The Gambia for the African Women Cup of Nations first round return leg qualifier on Monday.

His assistant Hassan Malik Mansaray has taken temporary charge of the team, who head into the match trailing 2-0 from the first leg tie played last week.

Meanwhile, Bah has also been ordered to step aside from his duties as head coach of Old Edwardians with immediate effect pending the SLFA investigations.

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