FIFA has unveiled an Asiatic lioness, known as Ibha, as the official mascot for the 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup to mark exactly one year to go until the tournament kicks off in India.
Interestingly, the unveiling ceremony which took place on Monday in Mumbai coincides with the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child.
Representing “Nari Shakti”, or women’s power, Ibha is a strong, playful, and charming Asiatic lioness that aims to inspire and encourage women and girls by using teamwork, resilience, kindness, and empowering others.
In addition to the meaning behind her name, which approximately translates in Khasi as “one with good vision or judgement”, Ibha also wants to encourage girls in India and around the world to make the right decisions and reach their full potential.
“Ibha is a really exciting and inspiring character, one that young fans across India and around the world will have huge fun enjoying and interacting within the lead-up to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India next year,” said FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer, Sarai Bareman, while describing the mascot’s character.
“2022 is on course to be a hugely significant year for women’s football, with future stars of the game set to showcase their skills in India – just nine months before the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
“Through the platform of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Ibha will play an important role in engaging with fans, as well as encouraging and inspiring more women and girls across India and beyond to take part and play the game.”
“The launch of the official mascot Ibha is yet another significant milestone achieved on the road to hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022,” LOC Chairman, Praful Patel, also said. “Ibha symbolises courage and strength, which are core qualities of every woman, while also embodying the vibrance and visionary spirit of the tournament.
“Today, also being International Day of the Girl Child, it is an appropriate occasion to reveal the mascot who will stand for a powerful and lively image that will inspire women to take new strides in not just football, but in other walks of life too.”
The next edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will take place in India from October 11 to 30, 2022.