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The official mascot of the 2010 World Cup was unveiled on Monday in Johannesburg - a green-haired leopard named Zakumi - FIFA announced at a television gala broadcast nationwide.
Zakumi - the ZA stands for South Africa while kumi means 10 in assorted African languages - has been exclusively designed in the host country which will stage the continent's first ever World Cup in 21 month's time.
The official mascot of the 2010 World Cup-Zakumi
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke explained the choice.
"Zakumi represents the people, geography and spirit of South Africa, personifying in essence the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We are certain we will have a lot of fun with him in the lead-up to and during the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup," said Valcke.
Andries Odendaal from Cape Town came up with the design - the animal's green hair is designed to provide "camouflage" on a football pitch.
(AFP via China Daily September 24, 2008)