The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on Monday unveiled Ibha as the official mascot of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 in India. Ibha, an Asiatic lioness, was unveiled on the day coinciding with the International Day of the Girl Child and exactly one year to go until the tournament kicks off.
“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 with in the lead-up to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India next year.
“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,” said Sarai Bareman, FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer in a release.
Representing “Nari Shakti”, or women power, Ibha is a strong, playful and charming 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 language as “one with good vision or judgement”, Ibha also wants to encourage girls in India and around the world to take the right decisions and reach their full potential.
“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,” added Bareman.
“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. 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,” said Praful Patel, Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairman and President of All-India Football Federation.
The next edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will take place in India from October 11-30 in 2022.