World Cup mascot launched in Kochi

Kochi is also a top contender to host the final of the Indian Super League in December, regardless of Kerala Blasters’ performance in the league.

Tracy Lu (second from left), Project Leader of FIFA in India, handing over a ceremonial flag of the Under-17 World Cup to the KFA President K.M.I. Mather and A.P.M. Mohammed Hanif, Kerala Government's Secretary - Sports.   -  H. Vibhu

Is Kochi the poster boy of next year’s under-17 FIFA World Cup in India? The series of events happening here would suggest exactly that.

The FIFA teams have almost always used the Kerala city as their starting point on their visits to India, the huge crowds in Kochi for the ISL games are talked about in Europe and the city boasts a grand stadium too.

Joy Bhattacharya, the project director the under-17 World Cup’s local organising committee, explained that each of the six cities that will host the World Cup are poster boys, but added that Kochi was certainly special.

“We’re going to have a lot of poster boys, remember India has about 40 odd stadiums and only six of them are going to be World Cup venues so each of these cities is already a huge winner, all of them will be poster boys,” said Bhattacharya.

“And, yes, Kochi is special for us; very close to us, from Mohammed Hanish (the State Government’s nodal officer for the World Cup) to Mr. K.M.I. Mather. The concept of nodal officer started with Kochi. When we started operating with him, we realised exactly how much of a help it is to have someone like Mr. Hanish with us, and we’re hoping to do another big event in Kochi soon. It’s the World Cup’s mascot launch.”

He revealed that the mascot launch will be held in Kochi and the mascot will be a very exciting one, one that could get young children hooked to the World Cup.

ISL final in Kochi?

Kochi is also a top contender to host the final of the Indian Super League in December, regardless of Kerala Blasters’ performance in the league. Mumbai hosted the final of the ISL inaugural edition in 2014 while Margao hosted the trophy game last season.

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