Even Zico laughed at the way things were moving in Brazil, World Cup hosts two years later.
Though the former World Cupper was referring to the national team’s pathetic performances in recent years on the pitch, the slow preparations for 2014 World Cup has put the Fifa and entire world in a spot of bother. So much so that even the Brazilian people are shocked and disappointed. Nobody told them there would be days like these, although not even the most optimistic citizen ever believed Brazil would deliver a World Cup with clinical efficiency when Fifa granted the tournament in October 2007.
The tournament has been beset by delays and questions. Although most of the 12 stadiums are on schedule, several are over-budget and being built with taxpayer money. But the more worrying factor is the state of transportation infrastructure, especially airports which are not even capable of handling the expected influx of 600,000 fans and authorities have been slow to build new airports and expand the existing ones.
The political strife is such that there are concerns over embezzlement and misuse of the £10bn of public money made available for the preparation and delivery of the World Cup.
Construction is being speeded up in order to be ready in time. It has been suggested that temporary solutions, such as provisional airport terminals, will be in place to cope with the increased demand caused by the arrival huge number of fans.
Public scepticism is such that in a recent poll, 85% of Brazilians said they believed corruption was inevitable.
While back on the pitch, the Brazilian team has been less than ordinary. As Zico rightly explained that Brazil first needs to be a composite unit and then only we can see of an attacking Brazilian side.
Dumped from the 2011 Copa América after missing all four penalties in a quarterfinal shoot-out against Paraguay, the Seleçao have struggled even against teams like Gabon in recent games. Recently, they also lost 3-4 to Messi’s power-packed Argentina in a friendly. Also there has been a confidence crisis which deepened when South American champions Santos were drubbed by Barcelona last December at the Fifa World Club Championship.
Early this year, embattled manager Mano Menezes hit the headlines after he failed to present a driving licence and to undertake a breathalyser test during a police operation against drink-drivers in Rio de Janeiro. Suddenly, the fear is that the team will not even go that far when Brazil hosts the competition after 1950.
“It’s tough to watch Brazil play these days,” said Zico.
Well, he is not the only one who is apprehensive of Brazil’s performance on and off the pitch.