A wombat called Nutmeg whose two great loves are football and welcoming overseas visitors has been unveiled as the official mascot for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.
Nutmeg took centre stage at the Wild Life Sydney Zoo when his appointment was announced on Tuesday in the presence of Socceroos legends and Asian Cup ambassadors Mark Bosnich and Brett Emerton.
“Nutmeg is a great addition to the Asian Cup team,” said Michael Brown, CEO of the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee.
“Importantly he loves to welcome visitors from overseas – which is something I’m sure the whole country will do when we stage Australia’s biggest ever football tournament in January.
“For football lovers and people who love a big event the Asian Cup promises to be a remarkable 23-day festival of football, culminating in the final at Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31.
“It’s fitting that we’re surrounded here today by iconic Australian animals and landmarks to launch the mascot for this event.
“I’m sure young fans will love Nutmeg and he’ll be out and about meeting people in our host cities over the next two months as we prepare for the Asian Cup.”
Born in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Nutmeg has loved football ever since he was a baby wombat.
His favourite move is the nutmeg – slipping the ball between the legs of his opponents - before scoring a goal and performing outrageous celebrations.
While Nutmeg doesn’t talk he does have a Twitter account @Nutmeg_2015 where he’ll share his appearances.
The AFC Asian Cup is Asia’s biggest football competition and was established in 1956.
The 16 nations to qualify for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 are Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Palestine.
The 16 finalists will take part in a 23-day festival of football in five cities which the Socceroos will kick off against Kuwait on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.