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.
Opponent Watch: ‘He must have 15 lungs’
Paul Pogba has been a key figure in France’s two wins at the2018 FIFA World Cup™ but reserved some special praise for a couple of his midfield partners. Plus another blow for reigning champions Germany ahead of their must-win clash, while there’s some harsh criticism for Argen
Milligan backs France to do their bit for Socceroos
Mark Milligan remains confident the Socceroos can progress to the knockout phase at the FIFA World Cup™, backing France to help Australia’s cause by beating Denmark. The Socceroos head into the final match against Peru (Wednesday morning AEST live on SBS and Optus Sport) with
Mexico coach's special praise for Socceroos
Mexico might have produced the result which has made the biggest impact at the FIFA World Cup™ - beating world champions Germany – but their coach has been impressed by the performances of the Socceroos. Juan Carlos Osorio – who masterminded El Tri’s shock 1-0 win of the Germa
Russia Watch: Tearful Neymar sparks relief for Brazil
Neymar became Brazil’s third-highest scorer of all-time as the South American’s left it late to pick up their first win of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. Elsewhere, there was late drama in Switzerland’s clash with Serbia while the Super Eagles of Nigeria boosted their hopes of a be