World Football governing body FIFA on Monday, October 11, unveiled an Asiatic lioness, known as Ibha, as the Official Mascot for the tournament to mark exactly one year to go until the tournament kicks off.
Representing “Nari Shakti”, or women 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 take the right decisions and reach their full potential.
Speaking about the launch, Sarai Bareman, FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer, said:
“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. 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.”
LOC Chairman Praful Patel added, “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.”
The next edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will take place in India from 11-30 October 2022.