New Delhi: Unveiled last year in October, Zabivaka, is the official mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, taking over from Fuleco, the three banded Brazilian armadillo.
Zabivaka means “the one who scores” in Russian, the FIFA official website said, adding it is “a very suitable name for this wolf who radiates fun, charm, and confidence”
The mascot was created by a student designer Ekaterina Bocharova and got selected through Internet polling held last year. In the process, Zabivaka secured the highest percentage of votes (53%) beating Tiger (27%) and the Cat (20%).
The website said, “The Official Mascot will play a very important role in the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The wolf will not only promote the event and entertain crowds at the stadiums, but also become an ambassador for Russia and a worldwide ‘celebrity’.”
It further explains, “He is charming, confident and social and has always dreamt of becoming a football star.
His favourite sporting pastime is playing football. He is a fair player, values his team members and respects his opponents, and he plays with skill and purpose.
He is always fun to be around—as the joker in the pack, he knows how to make others laugh.
He has taken to wearing cool sports glasses when he’s in action; he believes they give him special targeting powers on the pitch. And he loves to pose for photos.”
Over a million people in Russia participated in the voting process on several FIFA platforms and the results were declared during a live show on Russia’s Channel 1.
Meanwhile, FIFA on 7 June revealed the official Mascot for Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 as a young capybara named Capi. The launch event was held at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo (Uruguay).