Come June 12, and Punekars will glued to the television sets at their homes, workplaces, restaurants and clubs to witness the biggest sporting carnival- the 2014 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) football World Cup. Right from the live screenings, official merchandise to tempting drinks, the city has a lot to offer for excited football fans across the city.
Action for all
To cater the needs of the diverse football fans spread across the city, the lounges in Pune have come up with a variety of offers. For the collegians operating on tight budgets to the affluent population of the city, who can spend on extravagant 'screenings' in five stars, the city lounges have something to offer everybody. The city restaurants will serve football enthusiasts across the city between a budget of Rs 200 and Rs 2,000.
The Curly's Sports Cafe in the Camp area is offering the screenings from a nominal rate of Rs. 200 for its visitors.
"Apart from the screenings, we have a FIFA tournament gaming on PS3 and PS4 for our customers. We don't serve drinks but for Rs. 200, the customers will get a chance to watch the match and enjoy the food here," said one of the partners of the Cafe, Prashant Thakkar.
With a 25 per cent discount to its customers, the Le Royale makes sure that even college-goers get to enjoy the match lavishly.
Vishwajeet Das, a senior captain at the Le Royale, hopes to cater the youth for Rs 400. He said, "We have big projectors and will be screening at least one game live everyday. We also have special 25 per cent discounts so that the young crowd can enjoy the screenings."
Football fans are in for some treat in restaurants like Mundhwa's Pesto Pesto, which during the happy hours between one and eight pm, has a one-on-one offer on beers and drinks all through the World Cup season. Some restaurants will reward the supporters of the team that scores a goal. So if you want to get lucky, make sure you are wearing your team's jersey while watching at these restaurants. At the Toss Sports Lounge, the supporters will be given exciting goodies if their team wins.
Special drinks, food and decor
The Toss Sports Lounge and Pesto Pesto will also serve one popular dish of each country playing in the World Cup this year. They have come up with several new World Cup special drinks. "As the World Cup is being held in Brazil, we wanted to come up with some drink that defines this country. The drink consists rum, sugar sticks, mint, lemon and takasa," informed Mandar Desphande, operational director of Pesto Pesto.
To make the live screenings more exciting, some of the restaurants waiters will don the jersey's of teams playing the WC. "We have come up with the idea where waiters serving in our bar will be dressed like Brazilian footballers," said Ramesh Khole, Proprietor, Toons, Camp. Pesto Pesto will put up the flags and jerseys of the teams on their walls.
Merchandise being sold like hot cakes
While jerseys of England, Spain and Argentina are in much demand, the Dutch team supporter, Shardul Garbhe and his group of friends have pre-ordered jerseys to support their team. "We are a group of seven, who regularly play football at the Hut Fut Ground and other grounds across the city. We had pre-ordered jerseys of the Netherlands as we want to see them lift the title," said Garbhe. "We are running out of stocks of England and Germany t-shirts. We have come up with legend series for players like Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho. People in Pune are buying them in stocks," informed Siddharth Keskar of Eetee clothing.
City enthusiasts speak
This year, I am really surprised to see the enthusiasm of the city's football fans. Right from the idea of screening the matches live to all the fancy merchandise, the city seems ready for the World Cup. I have been supporting Spain since the beginning. It has always been a ritual for me wear Spain's jersey every time I watch their match. So, I will be doing that this year too. With the timings being an issue, I will watch some of the matches at my home and the rest at a live screening centre with my friends.
-Ajinkya Mandhare, Student
I'm really impressed with the way the city is all decked up for the World Cup. I've always supported Germany and I feel that they will win the title this year. I've brought their original jersey and will be wearing it for all the matches when Germany will be playing. Also, I will be watching the matches with my friends at the Toss Sports Bar. Seeing the spirit of city, I'm just so excited for the World Cup to kick off.
-Siddharth Painoli, HR
I am a little superstitions when it comes to football. This year, I will make sure not to get up from my seat while Belgium is playing. The team tends to lose when I switch places. Unfortunately, I did not find any showroom which sold the original jersey of Belgium. However, with some more days to go for the World Cup, I am hoping to find the jersey online. With the matches being telecast at odd timings, I will watching it at my place with my football enthusiastic friends.
-Kenneth de Souza, Marketing Manager
This year, I will be watching all the matches to see how are the teams are playing. As of now, I want Brazil to win the title because they are a very good team. I heard that Pesto Pesto is coming up a special cocktail for the World Cup. I would love to watch the match there and the new cocktail will be an icing on the cake.
-Samiha Dabholkar, Law Student
I like the idea where some of the sports bar in Pune let you place a bet where you get a free drink if your team wins. Spain this year has all of my favourite players; hence I place my bet on this team. The timing is an issue though. Watching the matches at a sports bar is great experience, as that's where all the energy lies. I will mostly be watching the 9.30pm matches at Toons or Pesto Pesto.
-Sherwin Xavier, Proprietor
I can't wait for the World Cup to begin. I'm supporting Portugal and I think Ronaldo will finally deliver in Brazil. I haven't bought any merchandise yet but I'm planning to buy their jersey and wear it when Portugal is playing. I'll watch the big game that is against Germany with friend at a sports bar.
-Roma Sawant, Student.