Five time world soccer kings, Brazil cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over lowly ranked Zimbabwe on Wednesday during a rare international friendly that was overshadowed by politics.
Zimbabwe’s top leadership lead by the ageing Robert Mugabe and his extravagant young wife Grace, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and countless government officials where at the National Sports Stadium.
The five time world champions, Brazil fielded a strong starting 11 including Real Madrid star Kaka and Robinho. Brazil had to sweat for the first 42 minutes before getting a goal with the second coming 2 minutes after.
And although Zimbabwe was destined to lose the game- considering that they were playing five world cup champions, the Warriors who have never won with Mugabe in attendance were twice denied goals by the wood-work
Two quick goals from Michel Bastos (42 minites), Robinho (44) all but wrapped up the game. However, Dunga’s boys suffered an injury scare when goalkeeper Julio Cesar was stretched off injured just after 26 minutes of play. The other goal came from after Dani Alves traded passes with Julio Baptista and then selflessly crossed for Elano to tap in.
Dunga’s side are now off to face Tanzania’s Taifa Stars on June 7 in their final rehearsal before the tournament proper. The Samba Boys rarely play against African teams and Zimbabwe has become only the fifth to face them in the past 30 years after Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.
Hours before the game Robinho said the team had been ready for the game for the past few years. Indicating that the team regards the friendly game with Zimbabwe a good warm up before going to South Africa.
Said Robinho, “Our team has been ready since quite a long time ago.” Brazil’s player they will not take pressure on the game to avoid injuries. Friendlies are important, but I will face them calmly.” But despite the promise of a calm game, Brazil brought a rare spectacle to Zimbabwe football which saw an unusual excitement.
And even though tickets for the game were sold out by noon, fans without tickets poured into the stadium’s vicinity, taking advantage of a government declaration on Tuesday that all its workers would knock off at noon to allow them to watch the match.
In Harare, a traffic jam built up on the road to the stadium, on the edge of the capital hours before the game.