The mighty Samba Boys of Brazil head to Zimbabwe on Wednesday for a warm up game with the lowly placed Warriors of Zimbabwe. The game would be played at the dilapidated National Sports Stadium in Harare and the lowest ticket is going for US$40.
“It’s now confirmed they (Brazil) will play Zimbabwe national team on the 2nd of June in Harare,” Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, said at the weekend. “We are going to do our utmost best as a country to make sure we prepare for the Samba boys”.
The government which has been battling to raise 1.3 million pounds to lure the world’s most popular national soccer side has received assistance from mobile company Net-one, platinum giant Zimplats and the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe to bring the south Americans to Harare.
The Samba Boys rarely play against African opposition and Zimbabwe is set to become only the fifth team from the continent to face the South Americans since 1980. Only Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa have played Brazil in any official form of the game since Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980.
Brazil was last in South Africa on June 15 last year, when they played Egypt in the Confederations Cup—a dress rehearsal of the World Cup which bursts into life on June 11. The Pharaohs were beaten 3-4. The Samba Boys also played another African opposition in the form of South Africa and beat them 1-0 in the same tournament.
However, it is the extravagance shown by the Samba Boys that has generated much interest in Harare. Brazil booked 70 VVIP rooms going between US$400-US$600 per night at the Rainbow Towers.
The hotel was certified fit to cater for the five-time world champions by their coach Dunga, who personally inspected the special hotels rooms that will sleep 2007 Fifa World Player of the Year Kaka and Robinho among the 23-player squad. He secretly sneaked in to Harare to inspect the hotel three weeks ago, hotel management say.
The Samba Boys have booked 70 rooms at the Rainbow Towers for the team and backroom staff such as a chef, a dietician, a physiotherapist, team doctors and kit managers. The rooms comprising the only three “diplomatic suites” at Rainbow Towers, which cost U $600 per night, have been taken up. The three diplomatic rooms would be taken by the coach Dunga and the team manager and head of delegation.
Heavy security will be maintained at Rainbow Towers on Tuesday night, when the Brazil jets in but fans in the capital have already started their own fanfare. The players are going to be accommodated in the “executive rooms”. The hotel has 11 executive rooms, which can take up the first team. The rooms cost $400 per night.
The last high profile figure to take up some of the rooms at the opulent hotel was R & B superstar Joe Thomas and his entourage in 2007.
Meanwhile, Some enterprising businesspersons have stocked up the team’s popular yellow jerseys, which are fast disappearing from car boot sales.