Bleary eyes are the order of the day with World Cup fever firmly entrenched and people flocking to their favourite spots to watch football matches with their family and friends.
Despite various television channels showcasing the 2018 Fifa World Cup matches live from Russia, including RTM’s free broadcast of selected matches, many still prefer to visit the 24-hours ‘mamak’ restaurants to watch the games.
Most football enthusiasts say the atmosphere that comes with watching the prestigious football tournament with a larger crowd adds to the enjoyment.
A visit to several late-night restaurants in Ipoh showed that many football fans were willing to stay up till the wee hours of the morning to watch the matches.
Restoran Nasi Vanggey manager Ansar Deen said there are eight televisions in the outlet, plus one big screen.
He said people usually start coming to the restaurant before the start of the first match, which is usually at 8pm.
“Some will watch the first match, and leave after that, while many will stay back until 3am to watch the final match as well.
“All kinds of people can be seen with their food and drinks cheering on their favourites teams,” he added.
Salam Corner Restaurant manager Mohamed Abdeen said also there are still many people who go to the restaurant to watch football matches.
He said he thinks many people prefer to watch the matches with friends in public places despite being able to watch from the comfort of their homes.
“Maybe not everyone in a house enjoys football, so those who do would rather come out to watch with their friends and cheer on their favourite teams.
“The restaurant is usually very lively whenever there are major football tournaments,” he added.
Naina Mohamed Restaurant worker Imam Ali said the restaurant is usually packed to the brim during the football season.
While the expectation would be that the crowd is mostly male, Imam says he has couples with children watching games as well.
“Some of them even stay up until 3am to watch the game, but that is usually on weekends.
“Those unable to stay up late sometimes come over to the restaurant to watch the repeat matches in the mornings or afternoons,” he said, adding that there are three television sets in the restaurant.
College student Eddie Cheng Ee Err, 22, said he is lucky that he is on a semester break at the moment, and therefore has the opportunity to watch the matches with his friends.
Cheng, who is studying in Penang said he prefers to watch the matches at mamak restaurants because he and his friends can cheer and scream as loud as they want.
“This is something not possible to do at home, because other family members will be asleep.
“I am definitely supporting Spain because my idol is player Andres Iniesta,” added Cheng.
Student Aqhari Shari, 18, said thanks to the school holidays which just ended, he was able to watch quite a few games with his best friend Faizuddin Rafi.
Aqhari said he also brought along football computer games to the restaurant to play with his friends.
“While perfecting our online ‘football skills’, we also cheer on our favourite teams.
“It’s so fun being here with others who are all complete strangers, cheering for football,” he added.