FIFA World Cup Mascots: Futile Fluff or Symbols of Hope? | Kwesé

FIFA World Cup Mascots: Futile Fluff or Symbols of Hope?

FIFA World Cup Mascots: Futile Fluff or Symbols of Hope?

11:00 SAST | 30 May 2018

Did you know that 'zabivaka' means "the one who scores" in Russian? Zabivaka -a cuddly wolf with dark glasses -is the name of Russia 2018's mascot.  

Cynics may contest the relevance of mascots when there is the serious business of football to get on with. Attaching a cute caricature to sport's biggest showpiece began at England 1966 with World Cup Willy - a lion with a Union Jack flag on his chest. It was designed by Reg Hoye, the man who illustrated Enid Blyton's children's books and such was its success that all subsequent FIFA World Cups have adopted the custom.

Striker came four years after Ciao, Italy's mascot, a distinct departure from the standard fare of cuddly animals. Ciao is a stick figure that appears to be made from Lego blocks, with a soccer ball as its head. It's very European: abstract, sophisticated and tasteful. And it's in stark contrast to the alien mascots of the South Korea / Japan FIFA World Cup (2002).

The Spheriks, as South Korea's mascots were called, are grinning, luminescent aliens. The official blurb explained that the Spheriks, "live high in the sky in a place called Atmozone, where they play their own version of football, Atmoball." What's wrong with football, you may ask. But perhaps we should excuse fanciful thinking from those who live in the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.

Africa can be proud of its first FIFA World Cup mascot - Zakumi (South Africa 2010). There's something rather sexy, in a feline sort of way, about Zakumi. As the official release put it, "He's a fluffy young leopard with green dreadlocks and a wide smile; he's energetic, enthusiastic, sociable, self-confident and ambitious - and he loves football." That more-or-less sums up the spirit of the continent itself, a people on the rise, eager to break free from the shackles of the past and exert their rightful place among the leading nations of the world.

Kwesé Sports celebrates this spirit as we bring you Russia 2018, LIVE on Kwesé Free Sports and Kwesé TV.

Kwesé is your official FIFA World Cup broadcaster. Catch 32 games LIVE on Kwesé Free Sports -Africa's exclusive free-to-air FIFA broadcaster - or get Kwesé TV and enjoy all 64 games LIVE in HD, plus world-class stars in studio, magazine shows, highlights, reviews and more.



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