Zakumi, a lively animated leopard, is the official mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Read on to know more on the mascot of the 2010 football world cup.

Zakumi: 2010 FIFA World Cup Mascot

The FIFA World Cup tournament, from the year 1966, has always had a ‘Mascot’ representing it. From a lion to a dog to an orange, the FIFA mascots have always been a part of FIFA World Cup competitions. The 1996 FIFA World Cup in England was represented by a lion, an animal that’s almost always used to represent the United Kingdom. The cartooned lion was called ‘World Cup Willie’ and wore a Union Flag jersey which said World Cup on it. The lion, unlike ferocious real life lions, was made to look cute, peppy and attractive. This has always been the case with the FIFA mascots; they’ve all been cartooned or animated figures with a playful feel to them. The mascots have also been very specific to the country that’s hosting the particular FIFA World Cup competition. The mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup is a leopard, and goes by the name Zakumi. The leopard was chosen as the mascot for the 2010 World Cup since the same is commonly found all over the country of South Africa. The FIFA mascots are mostly aimed at attracting the attention of children all over the world. Go ahead, take a step; read on to know more on the Official Mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Zakumi: Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Mascot
Zakumi the leopard is the ‘Official Mascot of the 2010 World Cup’. He was ‘born’ on 16 June, 1994 and his name ‘Zakumi’ actually has meaning to it. ‘ZA’ is the the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code for South Africa and ‘kumi’ literally translates to ten in many South African languages. Zakumi has green hair and wears a white t-shirt that says South Africa 2010 on it; he also sports a pair of green football shorts and hair that’s colored green. Zakumi’s gold and green colors stand to represent the colors of the South African national football team.

South Africa, as a country, can relate well to Zakumi the leopard. Interestingly, Zakumi’s birthday falls on a day’s that’s celebrated as Youth Day in South Africa. Also, the Group A match to be played between Uruguay  and South Africa just happens to fall on Zakumi’s 16th birthday. Zakumi traces his roots back to Cape Town; he was originally created or designed by Andries Odendaal, a resident of the South African city of Cape Town. Zakumi’s hair is also believed to be colored green to camouflage his playful appearance against the pitch. Zakumi’s official motto is ‘Zakumi’s game is Fair Play’. The peppy leopard’s World Cup motto, during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, was flashed on a number of advertisement boards. The motto will also be promoted aggressively during the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament.

Zakumi, recently had the misfortune of courting uncalled for controversy when the contract for manufacturing Zakumi collectibles was given to a company owned by Dr. Shiaan-Bin Huang. Dr. Shiaan-Bin Huang is an ANC representative in the South African Parliament. The contract was outsourced to a company called Shanghai Fashion Police Products was valued at an estimate of US$112 million. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) was not too happy with the deal and expressed distress over the state of the South African manufacturing sector. The COSATU had wanted the contract to be handed over to a local party. Also, an audit conducted by Global Brands Group, post rumors on sweatshop like conditions in the factories of the Shanghai Fashion Plastic Products, exposed a number of issues that were contrary to the policies of the Global Brands Group.

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