Shillong, June 28 (ANI): Alongside the soccer fever touching new heights during the FIFA World Cup tournament, the cash registers at almost all the outlets of sports goods in Shillong are also ringing.
People in Shillong, also known as the Scotland of the East, are ardent enthusiasts of the game of football, on and off the field.
No wonder, apart from enjoying the telecast of the World Cup matches, these short but sturdy fans of the game are also busy buying the jerseys and T-shirts of their favourite teams.
Many store owners in Shillong said that the sales of sports merchandise have gone up by 14 to 15 per cent over the past ten days, courtesy, the FIFA World Cup 2010 tournament, presently staged in South Africa.
"We don't have as much sales as compared to World Cup fever. So, when the World Cup starts, we see a total boom in sales. Whereas the World Cup fever is concerned, we have T-shirts and we have football boots, match balls," said Karan Mordani proprietor, Adidas showroom.
"We are the only state in northeast who are completely sold out on the match ball because there is so much demand of these kinds of products. People are just crazy over football over here, especially for (during) World Cup. Teams like Brazil, Germany and Argentina, there are major fans. You can't even imagine the kind of craze we have here," he added.
On their part, the shopkeepers have stocked up jerseys of all teams, which have qualified for the World Cup.
Among these, the Brazilian and Argentine jerseys seem to be literally flying off the shelves Jerseys, balls, shoes are some of the merchandise sales, which have witnessed great demand.
"During the World Cup, football sales are very good. But there are not many customers in the evening as they are watching football. But soccer items are in high demand," said R Mehdi, Manager, Reebok Stores, Shillong..
Football is slowly taking off in cricket-mad India and the World Cup is set to give the game a boost in a country with a 1.1 billion strong population.
Although India is placed at a lowly 133 in the official FIFA rankings, one notch below Fiji, but there is a huge following for soccer in the country, especially in northeastern states. By Hempi D Henpilen (ANI)