AMMAN, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- As the first FIFA World Cup held in the Middle East region is raging on in the Gulf Arab country Qatar, coffee shops and sports stores in Jordan's capital Amman, all bedecked with the flags of the participating teams, have witnessed a long-awaited business boom.
"On the first day of the World Cup 2022, our coffee shop was full. The World Cup is a high season for us even though winter is usually a low season for our business," Mahmoud Subhi, a worker at a coffee shop in Amman, told Xinhua.
"Football fans flooded in and geared up to watch this year's tournament despite the failure of our national squad to qualify for the 32-team tournament, which will help us compensate for losses incurred during the pandemic lockdown," Subhi said.
What adds to the Jordanians' already strong interest in the FIFA World Cup is that "the event is being held in an Arab country for the first time," Amjad Ali, a sports news editor at the Jordan Press Foundation, told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Four Arab teams from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia and the host country Qatar are competing at the 2022 World Cup.
"People are proud of all Arab teams and cheering for them to more progress," Ali said.
Workers at several coffee shops that put up the flags of the participating teams and photos of football stars said bookings are on the rise, especially when popular teams are playing at the World Cup.
"Even as late as around 11 p.m., you still can see the almost full occupancy in our cafe," said Adel Khaleel, a worker at a coffee shop in western Amman.
Instead of a subscription to the sports TV channel, Salem Taha, a Jordanian football fan, said he preferred to gather with his family and friends in a coffee shop to follow the event.
"For me, like many Jordanians who are passionate about the World Cup, watching the matches in a coffee shop while smoking Shisha will bring us more joy of sharing the sport festive atmosphere," he explained.
Street vendors have also joined the ranks of the World Cup business, selling flags, jerseys, and accessories such as scarves, bracelets, rings and headdresses, all with the colors of the participating teams. Meanwhile, fans queue up for T-shirts of their favorite teams or players in sports clothing stores.
Ayman Haj Abed, a worker at a sports store in the Jabal Al-Hussein neighborhood of Amman, said daily sales are almost up by 50-70 percent on jerseys of participating teams and their flags.
"The World Cup is fascinating in Jordan and there is a large fans base for many European and Latin American teams ... Most of the clients buy accessories for the teams of Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Germany, France and Portugal," Haj Abed told Xinhua.