The mania has already begun among the followers. Within another week, the skyline of Bangladesh -- along with that of a large portion of the world -- will become entirely different, just for a month. This unique month comes every four years, and sweeps us all off our feet -- FIFA World Cup is here once again!
Most fans hold a dogmatic kind of loyalty towards their favourite team. So it's obvious that they won't shy away from showing it off -- through jerseys, caps, key rings and of course, flags.
Put your flags up in the sky
And wave them from side to side
Show the world where you're from
Show the world we are one
Flags of different sizes are flagged on a pole by the hawkers, as they walk down roads selling them like hotcakes. And consequently, a colourful skyline is emerging. Wherever you look, it's the blue and white fervour for Argentina, or the yellow 'fever' for Brazil. Flapping too, are flags of Germany and Spain, among those of other countries.
Wearing jerseys is another common way of showing support. We get jerseys of our favourite participating country, and of our favourite player. Jerseys are now widely available all across different retail outlets of the city. From sports shops to clothing stores, jerseys are a huge hit. And the price range is very large, given that the market is filled with duplicates of different qualities and the relatively rare original ones too.
For example, in the shops of Gulshan-1 and Gulshan-2 DCC markets, the price range is from Tk.500 to Tk.1,000.
World Cup themed tees are also in shop shelves. The more popular ones include those with imprints of the trophy, the star players and this tournament's mascot (meet Fuleco, a native armadillo in Brazil).
Other than the sports shops, general attires and accessories stores --from outlets of Spark Gear, Ecstasy, etc. to those of Aziz Super Market – have also geared up.
It's not just the brick-and-mortar stores; the virtual world has caught on too. There are several Facebook pages that sell attire and accessories. These online stores are also selling jerseys and accessories with the upcoming World Cup in mind.
E-commerce websites too are no different. From tee shirts and jerseys to even a projector and a big screen for rent, these websites are definitely worth browsing.
Rokomari.com, for example, is an online store that has opened a section where you can find different jerseys.
Every World Cup, FIFA comes up with the new official ball to be played with. This year, it's Addidas Brazuca. The word 'brazuca', according to FIFA, “is used by Brazilians to describe national pride in the Brazilian way of life.”
Innumerable duplicate Brazuca footballs are available in the city.
The list of World Cup merchandise does not of course end here. Key rings, caps, water bottles, school bags, etc also fill up a considerable amount of shelves.
On the other hand, it's not at all necessary to always stick to World Cup themed items. To make watching the matches with friends more memorable, buy whistles, fire crackers, confetti, snow spray cans, etc -- whatever that can make watching football more fun together.
Because no matter which team you are rooting for -- and no matter how competitive and cut-throat you may feel towards some other teams -- at the end of the day we are all united in one string, the game of football. In a world as divided as ours, FIFA World Cup is a rare event that brings together people from varied nations, languages and faiths.
So make sure you participate and express your support -- for your team and for football at large. Just pick an item or two from the numerous options. The World Cup 'industry' is huge.
Photo: Star Lifestyle Archives/Sazzad Ibne Sayed