The international football powerhouse, through their agents Kentaro Group, told Zimbabwean officials that the Sambas were prepared to play the Warriors in Zimbabwe or South Africa, but only if the quoted amount was released.
The Switzerland-headquartered Kentaro is one of Europe’s leading sports rights agencies, specialising in football.
Paying appearance fees for matches outside normal fixtures is now customary in international sports, but the Brazilians’ price tag is prohibitive for a country desperately hoping to salvage World Cup spin-offs using other means.
“We were hoping that they (Brazilians) would come to enjoy our beautiful country as part of their preparations for the World Cup,” tourism minister Walter Mzembi told IndependentSport yesterday. “If that’s not enough to entice them, then we cannot go beyond that.”
Mzembi said tourism has been government’s drawcard to lure teams to camp in Zimbabwe ahead of the World Cup.
“We were leveraging with the attractiveness of Zimbabwe,” he said. “We do not have the budget for an exorbitant fee, notwithstanding the status of the teams who want to play us.
“Naturally we were tempted. Brazil is a high value brand and when you play against them you raise your profile. Our desire to play them has never been doubted. You may remember that last year I led a delegation there to meet top-level officials, including their president. Yes its standard practice to pay appearance fees, (but) what we simply don’t have is the budget.”
Brazil are the most successful team in the history of the World Cup, having won it a record five times.