In a glittering ceremony in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium the official mascot of the U-17 World Cup named Kheleo was unveiled. Sports Minister Vijay Goel, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee and AIFF President Praful Patel attended the event and set the ball rolling for the event that is 238 days away.
Kheleo will travel across the country over the next six months to promote the tournament. As football revives in India with the I-league and the three-year old Indian Super League, the first FIFA event will be held between October 6 to 28.
“Presenting Kheleo as the official mascot to the world is another big step for our event,” Praful Patel , All India Football Federation President said.
Patel termed the official mascot as a major component of the overall event brand that will represent the tournament and the host country.
A clouded leopard was introduced to hundreds of football fans. The clouded leopard is an endangered wild cat whose habitat extends from the Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia.
To commemorate Kheleo’s first public appearance, Sports Minister Goel said: “We are sure that he will be one of the most memorable mascots a sporting event in India has ever seen. Kheleo is young, vibrant, enthusiastic and a perfect representation of our country. He will help us to involve kids with football in a fun way.”