Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Zakumi the Leopard is World Cup mascot
by Mike Woitalla, September 23rd, 2008 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  world cup

MOST COMMENTED

Zakumi the Leopard is the official mascot of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Zakumi, the 12th World Cup mascot since the tradition began in 1966, is the third of the feline persuasion after World Cup Willie (1966) and Goleo, the big pantless lion of Germany 2006. Only once has a dog had the honor - USA 1994's Striker.

Zakumi's name is a composition of "ZA," which stands for South Africa, and "kumi," the word for "10" in several African languages.

"Zakumi is a proud South African and, as such, an ideal ambassador for the first African World Cup," said Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the local organizing committee. "He was born in 1994, the same year as the country's democracy. He is young, energetic, smart and ambitious, a real inspiration for young and old, not only in our country."

The first World Cup was played in 1930, but not until 1966 did the tournament get a mascot, when England introduced the Union Jack-clad lion named Willie.

After Willie, the next three mascots were boys: Mexico 1970's Juanito, West Germany 1974's Tip & Tap and Argentina 1978's Gauchito.

The first fruit to be made mascot was Naranjito, the smiling orange of Spain 1982, followed by Mexico 1986's Pique, a chili pepper.

Italy 1990 was represented by a red-green-white stick figure with a soccer-ball head named Ciao.

Animals returned in 1994 with Striker the dog and the smiling cockerel (Footix) of France 1998.

Korea/Japan 2002 brought us Kaz, Ato and Nik - described simply as "three funny creatures."

The Germans brought back the lion with Goleo in 2006, and organizers never explained why he wore a shirt but no shorts.

2010 World Cup organizers say that Zakumi "symbolizes South Africa and the rest of the African continent through his self-confidence, pride, hospitality, social skills and warm-heartedness" and that he is "jolly, self-confident, adventurous, spontaneous, and actually quite shrewd little fellow."

Zakumi dyed his hair green because he thought it provided camouflage against the green of the soccer field.

His weakness, it's reported, is a propensity to take frequent naps:

"With all his energy, he needs frequent rests. Occasionally, in-between performances on stage, he may suddenly fall asleep on the spot at the most random times."


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"My message since I took over this role, since five years ago, to all of them ...
This week in men's college soccer    
The WAC reintroduced men's soccer in 2013 and quickly has become one of the hottest men's ...
U.S. Abroad: Top U.S. youth star signs with Schalke 04    
FC Dallas, regarded as having MLS's best youth development program, lost out on Weston McKennie, the ...
What They're Saying: Hope Solo    
"Seventeen f****** years, and it's over!" -- Hope Solo, with her reaction to her husband, former ...
Video Pick: Sportsmanship from Barca boys    
After Barcelona U-13s' 1-0 win over Omiya at the World Challenge Cup in Tokyo left the ...
MLS Injury Report: Zardes out for regular season    
The LA Galaxy confirmed that U.S. national team forward Gyasi Zardes will miss the remainder of ...
Klinsmann: 'We have a lot of attacking options'    
Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes, the USA's top two contributors in 2016 with seven goals and ...
USL Rewind: Kickers, FC Cincinnati claim playoff spots    
Two more Eastern Conference teams nailed down postseason berths last weekend. A 1-0 defeat of Orlando ...
MLS Power Rankings: Eastern leaders swap spots    
The FIFA break follows a crazy-busy week in MLS, with 16 league matches - including several ...
MLS: Quakes fire GM John Doyle, San Jose original    
John Doyle, San Jose Earthquakes general manager since the club returned to MLS in 2008, has ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives