Cape Town - Brazil’s preparations for their World Cup campaign got off to an unsettling start when hundreds of protesters surrounded the team bus on the way to their first training session, hamming on the sides of the bus as it pulled away. The team were then greeted by even more protesters on arrival at the Selecao training ground.
According to KickOff.com website, the protests started outside the team’s hotel in Rio de Janeiro where coach Luiz Felipe Scolari had just met his squad on Monday. The hostile crowd, consisting mainly of striking teachers, covered the bus in stickers with messages protesting against next month’s tournament.
One of the banners read “There will not be a cup” while the crowd chanted "There will be no World Cup, there will be a strike”.
With just 16 days to go until the spectacle kicks off, the ongoing riots and protests, as well as the incompletion of three of the stadiums, is causing a growing concern over the country's readiness to host the tournament.
Brazil legend and Fifa World Cup ambassador Ronaldo voiced his personal concern and embarrassment over the situation in his country.
“In 2007 when they decided that the World Cup would be in Brazil, President Lula signed everything and agreed to everything and then they get here and there’s this bureaucracy, total confusion and lateness,” he said.
“It’s a shame. I am embarrassed, this is my country and I love it and we shouldn’t be transmitting this image abroad.
“But we mustn’t forget that Brazil wasn’t perfect before the World Cup. It was the same or worse.”
A total of 157 000 soldiers and police have been deployed to beef up security around the country, with an estimated 300 000 visitors expected in the country for the global event.