Goa is in FIFA World Cup groove with many restaurants decked up to welcome customers to dine and enjoy matches; street vendors in South Goa do brisk business selling trinkets; and families and friends decide which matches to watch, where and with whom.
“The World Cup always creates a special appetite in clients. My father used to design special menu cards and introduce dishes like Maradona chops or Zola cutlets and others when he was alive. I have not done so this year but am carrying forward his tradition of awakening the spirit of the World Cup in all,” Steve Rodrigues, son of Moti, founder of Marietta Bar and Restaurant in Panaji told GT Digital.
The 2022 World Cup is seeing a schedule overhaul with Qatar hosting the World Cup, and for many Goans, this World Cup will be without the thrill of going out to meet friends in public places in the rain.
“I remember taking the fish caught in the fields to a restaurant, baking them and enjoying them with friends as we watched the game. I think, the youngsters are going to miss the fun of getting up early to watch late-night games,” stated Schubert, sitting on his verandah in Betalbatim.
“But the World Cup is the World cup and its magic cannot be stolen wherever and whatever time it is held,” he added.
BPS in Margao has always been the hub for World Cup matches in South Goa, and it continues to be so with the place being given the look of a mini-World Cup village and a huge screen set for all to watch together as a family.
“The timings are apt for a restaurant this time. We have matches starting at 7.30, at 9.30 and midnight, and a few matches late in the afternoon. The times are typical for us Goans. There are little adjustments we have to make as far as time is concerned. The timing, this World Cup, is suitable for us as restaurateurs and suitable for our customers too. There will be few absentees from work due to leave taken,” claimed a manager at BPS on condition of anonymity.
“I find scarves, flags and jerseys sold in sports shops and other places are not as unaffordable as before. I went to buy one T-shirt and came back with two and a flag of Portugal,” admits Jacinto Lobo, as he walked out of a sports shop in Mapusa.
“We normally meet at some restaurant where the game can be seen on a big screen,” he admitted without being specific about the location.
Most clubs in Panaji are decked up to whet the interest of their clients in the World Cup and the same is the case with beach shacks all over Goa.
“The British were normally our best clients for the World Cup, but now, with an influx of Russians, and with them having been the hosts the last time, I am waiting to see how they celebrate the World Cup on the beach in Goa. I hope they will not buy booze and carry it to their rooms to watch the game,” Dominic Rodrigues, owner of a shack in South Goa, told GT Digital.
As restaurants, shacks and clubs are preparing to welcome their clients, most Goans are preparing to cheer their beloved Portugal to a World Cup triumph with Ronaldo at the helm for the last time.