Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brazil Visit: Sweet Coup for Zimbabwe

Brazil visit: Sweet coup for Zimbabwe

Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

ZIMBABWE vs Brazil! Kaka vs Benjani! Sounds like a dream, but no, this is real and this Wednesday afternoon, the eyes of the football-loving fans from all over the world will be glued on Zimbabwe.

What else can one ask for? This is a sweet coup by Zimbabwe and every patriotic Zimbabwean has the right to enjoy this historic moment.

A match between Zimbabwe and Brazil being played at the National Sports Stadium just a few days before the World Cup in South Africa is no ordinary game. It permeates the economy, society and even politics.

Brazil is not just a football giant. Its record speaks for itself. Brazil is ranked number one in the world in terms of football. Brazil has won the World Cup a record five times. Some Brazilians even brag that they are the owners of football.

And now these “owners” of football are coming to Zimbabwe with a pool of superstars that are being coached by Dunga, who was the captain of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning team. Surely, Zimbabwe has been honoured.

A big thank you to the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi, and his team at the ministry, the ZTA team, Zifa and of course the management at Zimplats, NetOne, and CBZ Holdings for transforming this dream into reality.

The prophets of doom have been proven wrong. All the lies about

Zimbabwe being an unsafe destination, all the nonsense about security concerns in Zimbabwe and all the hogwash about a bad Zimbabwe will be exposed and disproved.

Zimbabwe should grab this opportunity with all hands. While the soccer players will rub shoulders with the best there is in the world and while the fans will have the rare opportunity to see their stars in the flesh, every Zimbabwean should learn a lesson or two from the Brizilians’ visit.

To many Zimbabweans, Wednesday’s game is not about Zimbabwe beating Brazil or Brazil beating Zimbabwe. Wednesday’s game is a statement on Zimbabwe from the entireworld. It is an opportunity for Zimbabweans and indeed we will cherish this for a long time to come.

Of course, the prophets of doom will not stop their anti-Zimbabwe campaign. They will try to find all the wrongs from the visit. They could even try to sponsor incidents in a bid to tarnish the country’s image.

As we celebrate the coming of Brazil, let us keep it in our minds that the world is watching. Let us keep it in our minds that our enemies are not with us as we celebrate.

Fortunately, Minister Mzembi is aware of the challenges ahead. During the Press conference to announce the deal, the minister made it clear that “it will be a tough job to ensure that everything is a success”. Indeed it will not be an easy task.

But Zimbabwe is known for its hospitality. Zimbabwe is known for its safety and there are no security concerns to worry about.

Even the Brazilian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, De Taunay, knows how safe Zimbabwe is.

He said: “Zimbabwe was chosen because of its geography, its technicalities, the security in the streets, the good climate and the good altitude and I am so certain that it will be a good match .. . .”

If only countries like Britain, the US, Australia and Canada could learn! If Zimbabwe can host Brazil, then surely this is an endorsement of the country writ large.

The cricket world should take lessons from the visit by Brazil. Some cricket teams refuse to come to play in Zimbabwe, citing security concerns but they go to some war zones to play cricket. The double standards are just nauseating.

The government of Brazil must be commended for refusing to listen to the lies about Zimbabwe. Ambassador De Taunay must be commended for telling the truth about Zimbabwe. He could have advised the Samba Boys not to come to Zimbabwe, but no, he knows the true Zimbabwe story and, this Wednesday, Kaka and the superstars will be in town.

Even if Brazil beat the Warriors, the majority of Zimbabweans will support the Samba Boys at the World Cup.

Of course, there are other African teams at the soccer showcase that we as Africans should naturally support, but the Samba Boys have become our boys because they chose us among many.

Entry fees have been pegged at US$10 for the rest of the ground, US$40 for VIP and US$60 for VVIP. These are reasonable charges because this is Brazil and it does not come cheap.

The match is going to be played on a Wednesday which is a working day. If possible, companies should allow their workers to go and watch this game either at home or at the stadium.

Like they are saying about the World Cup in South Africa — this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Let there be order at the stadium on Wednesday.

Zifa should make sure that gates are opened early while police should be in force to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

The world will be watching. The world will judge Zimbabwe using this game. We cannot be found wanting.

Motorists going to the stadium should respect the rules of the road. The fans should watch the game in peace.

Let the people enjoy!

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