The official FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013 mascot was unveiled Monday in the host country, the UAE, reported Emirates 24/7 on Tuesday.
The mascot, “Shaqran,” is named after a popular type of falcon, a bird that is a strong symbol of the country’s heritage and falconry tradition.
Tournament director, Mohammed Abdulla bin Bdoua, said: “I am delighted to introduce our tournament mascot, Shaqran, to all football fans in the UAE, many of whom are familiar with the falcon that the mascot is named after. Falcons are a potent symbol of our nation and represent great strength and determination, two qualities present in all 24 qualifying teams for this tournament. Shaqran therefore emerged as the perfect name for our event ambassador and mascot.”
The mascot will be used to engage with football fans, especially children, across the country in the run up to the event which will run from Oct. 17 until Nov. 8.
“We continually aim to select Fifa U-17 World Cup mascots that fans from the host country can relate to and are familiar with. Shaqran was the best pick for this tournament as he not only represents the Emirates’ heritage of falconry but he is also a symbol that many UAE nationals identify with in the same way that they identify with the nation’s oldest sport – football,” said Iñaki Alvarez, Fifa Deputy Director of Competitions.
The Fifa U-17 World Cup takes place across six cities and is set to be the largest football event in the nation’s history.