Family of desert rodents, first used in 2011, return as mascots for AFC Asian Cup 2023 | Football News – Times of India

Family of desert rodents, first used in 2011, return as mascots for AFC Asian Cup 2023 | Football News – Times of India

PANAJI: India will find common opponent and mascots when they face the continent’s best teams at the AFC Asian Cup 2023 early next year.
India faced Australia at the Asian Cup in 2011 in Doha and will now open the latest campaign against the same opponents on January 13 in Qatar.
A familiar quintet of jerboas were announced as the official mascots of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 and India won’t be surprised.The family of fivedesert rodents are no strangers to the AFC Asian Cup, as they had made their debut when Qatar last hosted the competition in 2011. Now, Saboog, Tmbki, Freha, Zkriti and Traeneh are back to take the spotlight in the 18th edition of the showpiece.
India have qualified for back to back Asian Cups for the first time.
The mascots were unveiled to the public at the Barahat Msheireb, an open square in downtown Doha, with the Asian Cup kicking off on January 12 between hosts Qatar and Lebanon at the Lusail Stadium.
The mascots cast is led by Saboog, the blue-coloured son of the family whose name is derived from the commonly used term in Qatar to refer to the jerboa, or desert rodents. He is followed by the pink-coloured Freha, the eldest daughter of the family who is named after the Freha area in the north of Qatar. Third is Tmbki, the yellow-coloured younger son named after the Timbic region in Qatar’s east. The parents are Zkriti and Traeneh, the green-coloured father and purple-coloured mother respectively; the pair are named after Zikrit in Qatar’s west and Tranaa, to Qatar’s north.
The official mascots are the brainchild of Qatari artist Ahmed Al Maadheed, who wanted to attribute different characteristics to each mascot, akin to the different roles that players take on during a football match. He also wanted to create a set of characters that resemble a traditional household in Qatar that also pays tribute to all four corners of the country.
“From the very beginning, we wanted to do something that inspired families and young people to be a part of the Asian Cup,” Al Maadheed said. “We wanted to do dig deep into our rich ecological heritage and find an animal that could represent the best of what happens on the pitch and also in our daily lives, and that was the jerboa.
“We decided to present a family of jerboas, each with its own distinctive personality, as a way of acknowledging the importance of teamwork in football, but also acknowledging the importance of family life to societies in Qatar.”
The characters have been brought to life for the AFC Asian Cup through an anime-inspired animation.
From now, until the conclusion of the tournament on February 10, audiences will be treated to an animated work that invokes the nostalgia of iconic cartoons of the past. The animation was directed by Fahad Al Kuwari, with the song performed by Qatari artist Dana Al Meer and the legendary Tarek Al Arabi Tourgane.
“The mascots of the invoke wonderful memories from 2011, but also embody the excitement and energy of what will certainly be an amazing competition. The five characters are inspired by Qatar’s natural environment and present us with yet another wonderful opportunity to showcase our culture and heritage to football fans from around the world,” said Hassan Al Kuwari, marketing and communications executive director of the AFC Asian Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC).

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