Lured by the exciting prospect of enjoying a splendid summer in the heart of the South America, hundreds and thousands of football fans have booked their place in one of Brazil’s iconic World Cup venues.
But the worrying question on everyone’s minds is whether the Latin American nation will be able to meet the lofty expectations when the deluge of tourists flock into its cities in less than ten days time.
From the world-renowned Copacabana beach to the towering masterpiece of Christ the Redeemer overlooking the favelas of Rio, to undisputed king of natural wonders - the great Amazon Rainforest, there is no scarcity of choices when it comes to the witnessing the stunning of wonders of Brazil. As the biggest nation in South America it is adulated in its every aspect by tourists and natives alike. Football, along with the nation’s culture and tradition, will all play a part in the people’s experience when the World Cup kicks off at Sao Paulo.
Football, luxury and tourist resorts - This is the part of Brazil that most fascinated tourists would know about, and with the aid of media propagation those picturesque wonders have become the sole identity of the World Cup hosting nation. But what most people do not know is a far more shocking revelation - some hidden in the shadows of the city skyscrapers while others are seen protesting in the open streets of Rio.
As the world watches over Brazil, the government is desperately groping for a way to shrug off these embarrassing rumours and cover up the glaring flaws ahead of the most important event the nation has had in decades. Amidst the prophecies pointing out that Brazil 2014 will be disaster, FIFA has confidently assured the world it will be a success in its every aspect. But will it ? GiveMeSport contributor Munasib Hossain looks at some of the aspects of Brazil that says otherwise.
The land of guns and gangs
Only a few kilometres away from the towering skyscrapers and majestic hotels of Rio, lies what many people call The Land Of God, Guns and Gangs. The dark and dingy favelas at the heart of Rio are the home to some of Latin America’s most vicious drug gangs. In the littered alleyways at this dark side of Brazil, killing, trafficking and gunshots are part of daily life.
While most of the favela population struggles in abject poverty, the drug lords are earning millions in cash each year. For decades these bold and fearless drug gangs have reigned with an iron fist and so impenetrable is their control that even the government have failed to thwart them off. However with the greatest spectacle of footballing tradition making a bold return to Brazil after 64 years, the government has, as they say, taken the all necessary measures to eradicate these drug cartels.
But when such a huge business as drug trafficking comes into questions, many wonder whether the police will indeed be able succeed in this insurmountable challenge - a task that they have failed to accomplish for the past 10 years.
The dangers and demonstrations
Despite boasting world’s seventh largest economy, Brazil’s poverty rates has soared to unfathomable heights in recent years, with more than ten-percent of the country’s population struggling for survival without the minimal means of education or healthcare.
The riots that broke out in the streets of Rio during the Confederations Cup last summer sends a bold, ringing message to the world that hosting the World Cup is largely at odds with the people’s desire. As hospitals and schools rot in their ruins, the hefty tax sums are being used to fund the construction and decoration of extravagant World Cup venues – an action that makes the basic necessities of the Brazilian people seem more like a mere matter of ignorance for their government.
Consequently, President Dilma Rousseff had to pay the price for her careless actions as a wave of uprising and protests broke out across the nation to oppose the government’s plans for the World Cup 2014. An attack on the president's office was just the latest alarming episode in the run-up to June's tournament. Even for a nation where soccer has grown to be a religion, the guarantee for survival and a decent standard of living comes before anything else.
As infuriated protesters storm the streets, Rio and Sao Paulo - cities which were tipped to become iconic hosts for the World Cup - have now turned into a battleground for angry mobs and brutal law enforcers. As these infuriated protesters plan further demonstration for the World Cup ahead, the Brazilians are ready to make their voices on the world stage.
For the millions of tourists who arriving in Brazil for the World Cup, the situation means total pandemonium. The anticipated visitors who would be hoping to roam the nation’s great cities and experience its fabled footballing culture wouldn't be too happy if they bumped into a mob of angry protesters.
The race against time
As if these insurmountable challenges weren't enough for a nation like Brazil to handle, it faces a far more worrying predicament arising on the horizon. The stadiums that were initially designed to hold thousands of fans at the World Cup are still not completed, well behind the December 31 deadline imposed by FIFA. As the World Cup looms over Brazil like a frightening ghost, the massive delay has got many fans worried about whether the world Cup is going to be a disaster after all.
Being well behind schedule, Brazil has been forced to scrap some their renovation projects and as the nation races against time, the rush has resulted in the tragic deaths of many of the stadium’s construction workers. The inhumane exertion in the scorching heat and relentless work has already claimed the lives of eight, but the on-spot journalists are adamant that the figures stand at a higher level.
Furthermore, the South American nation’s poor and wrecked transportation is also a headache for everyone there – FIFA , the government and most importantly, the tourists. The bustling traffic and long waits in the scorching heat are enough to ruin the mode of the elegant visitors who would be arriving there, most of whom had never experienced anything like it.
With drug cartels improvising new strategies for expanding their multi-million dollar business during the World Cup and protesters looking to carry on their violent demonstrations, the adamant assurances made by FIFA looks somewhat hollow in the light of massacre that continues to rage in the helpless nation.
Looking on the bright side of things, the newly renovated stadiums may finally undergo some final finishing touches in the nick of time, whilst fully complying by the FIFA standards. To successfully manage the deluge of fans who be inundating into the city streets, Brazil will require the cooperation of everyone – most importantly the nation’s own people to accomplish this seemingly impossible task.
As expectations run high, the stakes seem great and with the nation’s own people against it, Brazil will be needing a miracle to fulfil the lofty expectations and impress the world. With our best interests at heart as true football fans, it is certain that the passion for football and beauty of the game will be at its best, no matter what happens - for the sport is what Brazil as a nation are best at.
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