SPORTS

Players: Gamel Denial ‘False’

Three national under-23 players who were alleg­edly assaulted by national football coach Christophe Gamel claim his denial of the (alleged) incident is “false.” SUNsports asked Amena Bola, Kini Madigi and
31 Jan 2019 10:18
Players: Gamel Denial ‘False’
Under-23 players allegedly assaulted by national coach Christophe Gamel from left: Simione Nabenu, Kalaveti Sivoi and Kini Madigi in Ba on January 25, 2019. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

Three national under-23 players who were alleg­edly assaulted by national football coach Christophe Gamel claim his denial of the (alleged) incident is “false.”

SUNsports asked Amena Bola, Kini Madigi and Simione Na­benu to react to a Fiji Football Association statement issued on Tuesday saying Gamel had de­nied all allegations against him.

“To be honest, that (what Gamel told Patel) is a false statement,” Bola said.

“I don’t want to say anything more because they might try to victimise me, but that is a false statement – a lie.”

Ba’s Madigi said: “That’s (Gamel) a big lie because there were a lot of witnesses when it (allegedly) happened.

“I will lodge a complaint with FFA but people have been say­ing we are making stories about him. They were not there when he (allegedly) hit us.”

Nabenu added: “I don’t know why he is not telling the truth. Maybe he is afraid to lose his job, I don’t know. But ask all the peo­ple present in the room and they will tell you what happened.”

Lautoka’s Sekove Finau, who was also allegedly assaulted by Gamel, could not be reached for a comment.

The French coach has been in the spotlight since Saturday (January 26) after the Fiji Sun reported his alleged assault of youth players in Ba on January 16.

The alleged incident happened after a drug test in which the players allegedly tested positive.

Details of the drug have not been revealed.

One U23 player’s parent says she believes her son, adding that Gamel should “tell the truth” about the allegations.

‘TELL THE TRUTH’

The parent says she will pursue Police action if Fiji FA does not act.

“My son came to me after it (al­legedly) happened very confused and upset, and told me about the incident,” said Siteri Tinaitama­na, the mother of Kalaveti Sivoi.

“The coaches led him to believe they had a right to hit him be­cause he was in camp. I had to explain to him that no-one is al­lowed to hit him.”

Fiji FA president Rajesh Patel, who was contacted yesterday, said: “They need to lodge a for­mal complaint with us.

“The player and their parents can come tomorrow (to Ba) and lodge it – that is all I’m going to respond.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Patel said Gamel denied all the allega­tions against him when he was interviewed as part of an inves­tigation, and that he would not be asked to step aside.

This despite calls from leading women’s rights activists Shami­ma Ali, Amnesty International’s Roshika Deo and prominent me­dia figure Raymond Stoddart to get Gamel to step aside to pave the way for an independent in­vestigation into the players’ claims.

-Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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