The football fever is on and why won’t it be? It’s Football World Cup 2014. It’s hard to wait for the night and watch the match. This year the World Cup is in Brazil. Quoting Shakira with a slight change, “This time for South America” or should I just let go the old song and say, “we are one”. What I am talking about today is the animal mascots of all times. These animal mascots are kept as pets too. But endangered species should not be kept as a pet. If they die in your hands, you will be equally responsible like all the animal killers for the extinction of the animal. The animals of the country represent the country best. That’s why the mascot succeeded every time he represented his country. In each World Cup from 1966, there was a Mascot to represent the country. From the first mascot Willie to this year’s mascot Fuleco all of them represented and symbolised their country. The mascots are used in all sports even some organizations use the mascots too. Mascots are basically there for advertisement. Brand mascots often interact with people and it is pleasing to talk to a fluffy mascot. Mascots are seen as the lucky charm.
This year the mascot is a Brazilian three-banded Armadillo wearing a T-shirt reading ‘Brazil 2014”. It represents Brazil well along with the danger of its own species. Armadillos do look cute and these armadillos are only found in Brazil. When they are threatened they coil themselves in a ball. That is there defence mechanism. But that defence is no good to humans. Humans hunt them down for their flesh. The three-branded armadillos are classified as vulnerable species. The name Fuleco is a portmanteau of the world “Futebol” (football) and “Ecologia” (ecology). Fuleco has a cheerful, charming personality. He is also friendly, passionate for football and he dances in all music. Though he doesn’t talk but he is very curious and adventurous. He is sociable unlike his other armadillo friends. He is the most popular mascot so far.
Zakumi is the South African mascot of World Cup football 2010. Zakumi is a leopard and he has green hair. He is wearing a shirt that reads ‘South Africa 2010’. His green and golden colours represents South Africa’s national sports team’s colour. His name comes from “ZA” for South Africa and “Kumi” which means ten in various African languages. Zakumi is a self confident spontaneous and jolly leopard. He loves football and invites people to play with him. He wants a good mood for the fans and wishes to bring the world together in South Africa. For all that leopard-ish energy his battery needs to be charged every now and then. He sometimes falls asleep while dancing on the stage.
Goleo was a lion wearing a Germany shirt with the number 06 on it. He had a talking football named Pille. Goleo is a portmanteau of the words “goal” and “leo”. The Latin word for lion is Leo in Germany. But the lion created controversy as he wore no pants. And another controversy, a lion is historically linked to England and Netherlands. NCIC, who made Goleo, declared bankruptcy in that year.
In 1998 the mascot was a French Gallic Rooster, a simple yet elegant mascot. A Gallic rooster has symbolized France for years so it was undoubtedly a popular mascot with a writing “France 98” on its chest. Its body is mostly blue as France’s national team shirt and its name is a portmanteau of the words “football” and “ix” for popular Gallic name. That year France won the World Cup against Brazil by 3 goals.
When it came to America to choose the World Cup mascot, they took the European way. But instead of using the national symbol, America chose a common pet. He was a common American pet, a puppy dog wearing a red, white and blue football jersey with the words “USA 94”. He was the World Cup pup. Striker was one of the most successful mascots. He earned around 11 million dollars.
Willie the lion, the first mascot of the first World Cup of 1966. In that year for the first time people could watch World Cup on TV. For the First time the inventors of the game won the tournament. It was the first World Cup which had a mascot and that also a national symbol, a lion, wearing the national colours. Willie the World Cup Lion was a commercial success and he helped England to secure the trophy. Willie was the creation of Reg Hoye, the idea of a lion was based on his son Leo. Willie even had his own song.