Chiyangwa takes Brazilian officials on a phantom cruise

Chiyangwa, who probably thinks he is the only one who can afford the £270 000 rich men’s toy tried to impress the Brazilian team which has shortlisted Zimbabwe and South Africa as preferred hosts for the team.

Chiyangwa drove the Brazilian technical team around the National Sports Stadium, Rufaro, Prince Edward High School, St George’s College and hotel facilities in his posh Rolls Royce Phantom.

The two members of the technical team Mr Paul Leisegang and Mrs Doris Kevial arrived in the country on Saturday from South Africa and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority hosted them.

In an interview, Mr Leisegang and Mrs Kevial said they were focusing on Zimbabwe and South Africa only.

“Our hands are tied exclusively on Zimbabwe and South Africa not anywhere else. We are working on camping in the two countries so we are on a fact-finding mission.

“The altitude is fine and we are now looking at the weather conditions for May and June and we have told Zimbabwe to give us all the details about the weather in May and June.

“Zimbabwe has weather conditions similar to South Africa, so acclimatisation for the boys is very important, before we move to South Africa.

“What is important is that at the moment we are not looking elsewhere but Zimbabwe and South Africa,’’ said Mr Leisegang.

He said the technical team, which returned yesterday afternoon, would be coming back to Zimbabwe mid December for further inspection and discussion with stakeholders.

“We are impressed but we have to go back for the draw and for feedback with the team. We will come back mid December for more inspections and negotiations,” he said.

Mrs Kevial said Zimbabwe was not in a good position until the Confederations Cup that was played in South Africa in June, where the Brazilians complained that it was cold.

“The boys had to play with gloves and warm clothing and it affected them. We are now looking for a better training ground before going to South Africa and this is why we are looking at Zimbabwe,’’ she said.

ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said since his visit to Brazil in March this year, Brazil had remained a top priority for Zimbabwe.

“We have never lost our focus. We have approached several other countries from Britain, Spain, Mexico, Algeria, Nigeria and Ghana but Brazil has remained our first priority and we hope we will win the bid.

“This is a technical inspection that will be followed by many talks and negotiations for what they want but the fact that they are now focusing on us and South Africa only is quite a big chance for us.

“We are prepared to do everything to get Brazil here because it is crucial for our national tourism rebranding. It is good for us as a tourism industry and as a people,’’ said Mr Kaseke.

Zimbabwe has been courting Brazil to camp ahead of the soccer extravaganza since May this year, when it sent a high-powered delegation led by Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi and Mr Kaseke.

Prior to that, Mozambique had started courting Brazil through its President Amando Guebuza, citing a huge coastline and Portuguese language as an advantage while Botswana and Namibia also put up their bids.