SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil assistant coach and former world champion Carlos Alberto Parreira says it's "a joke" that the Brazilian government took so long to start working on some of the infrastructure projects needed for the World Cup.
With less than five months before the tournament, Parreira said he is disappointed with the country's preparations and accused the government of missing a huge opportunity to improve conditions for Brazilians.
Parreira told Radio CBN in an interview first aired Sunday that he believes stadiums will be ready in time, but it's a shame most infrastructure projects that could benefit Brazilians won't be completed until long after the World Cup.
The World Cup-winning coach in 1994 is the latest past champion to blast Brazil's preparations, following the recent criticism by former players Cafu, Bebeto and Rivaldo.
"We missed an opportunity to show the world what we can do in this country," Parreira said. "We missed an opportunity to provide more comfort to Brazilians and to show a different kind of Brazil."
The country has only seven of the 12 World Cup stadiums ready for the tournament that opens in June, and there are still doubts whether Curitiba will remain a host city because of delays in its stadium. But the greatest missed opportunities are related to the infrastructure work that was supposed to remain a legacy to the country's population. Many of the projects promised by the government will not be completed in time or won't even leave the drawing board.
"We know the World Cup is about stadiums, but it's not only about stadiums. Fans can't live in a stadium," Parreira said. "They say everything will eventually be ready in 2018, 2020... but we wanted it ready for the World Cup to try to change this view that the foreigners have about Brazil."