Well someone has to come to the rescue of the little guy. Sure our very own 2010 Zakumi leans towards the rather garish side, what with his bright green hair, big anime eyes and seemingly completely un-African look, you’ve got to admit – he is a far sight better than some of the other candidates we’ve had over the years.
And besides, he is targeted mostly at the children anyway – how else is FIFA going to flog its merchandise to them? :)
The FIFA World Cup started the mascot trend in 1966 for the England competition, with World Cup Willie being the first ever mascot to be born into existence. From that point onwards, each and every World Cup has had their own mascot, with the designs usually representing a characteristic feature (costume, flora, fauna, etc.) of the host country.
And so, in an effort to prove that Zakumi is in fact not the worst of the lot, here is the entire list of World Cup Mascots in all of their glory/infamy:
World Cup Willie
|A lion, a typical symbol of the United Kingdom, wearing a Union Flag jersey with the words “WORLD CUP”.|
|A boy wearing Mexico‘s kit and a sombrero (with the words “MEXICO 70”). His name is the diminutive of “Juan“, a common name in Spanish.|
Tip and Tap
|Two boys wearing Germany kits, with the letters WM (Weltmeisterschaft, World Cup) and number 74.|
|Argentina1978||Gauchito||A boy wearing Argentina‘s kit. His hat (with the words ARGENTINA ’78), neckerchief and whip are typical of gauchos.|
|An orange, a typical fruit in Spain, wearing the kit of the host’s national team. Its name comes from naranja, Spanish for orange, and the diminutive suffix “-ito”.|
|A jalapeño pepper, characteristic of Mexican cuisine, with a moustache and wearing a sombrero. Its name comes from picante, Spanish for spicy peppers and sauces.|
|A stick figure player with a football head and an Italian tricolore body. Its name is an Italian greeting.|
|A dog, wearing a red, white and blue football uniform with the words “USA 94”.|
|A cockerel, one of the national symbols of France, with the words “FRANCE 98” on the chest. Its body is mostly blue, like the host’s national team shirt and its name is a portmanteau of “football” and the ending “-ix” from the popular Astérix comic strip. Other proposed names were “Raffy”, “Houpi” and “Gallik”.|
Ato, Kaz and Nik (The Spheriks)
|Orange, purple and blue (respectively) futuristic, computer-generated creatures. Collectively members of a team of “Atmoball” (a fictional football-like sport), Ato is the coach while Kaz and Nik are players. The three individual names were selected from shortlists by users on the Internet and at McDonald’s outlets in the host countries.|
|A lion wearing a Germany shirt with the number 06 and a talking football named Pille. Goleo is a portmanteau of the words “goal” and “leo”, the Latin word for lion. In Germany, “Pille” is a colloquial term for a football.|
|South Africa 2010||
|Zakumi is a leopard with green hair wearing a shirt saying South Africa 2010. Zakumi’s green and gold colors represents South African national sports’ teams colors. His name comes from “ZA”, the ISO 3166 code for South Africa, and “kumi”, a word that means “ten” in various African languages.|
Thanks to Wikipedia for the info by the way!
For more information about this little Zakumi chap himself, visit the official FIFA website here
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_World_Cup_mascot