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Brazil proposes contest for World Cup mascot

sports Updated: Dec 13, 2011 19:10 IST
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Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo on Monday proposed an internet contest to decide whether a "saci," a popular character in Brazilian folklore, a macaw or a jaguar should be the mascot of the 2014 World Cup.

"My idea is to have a broad public contest, on the Internet, so that people can give their views. Other suggestions, in addition to the saci, the macaw or the jaguar, could emerge that we can submit to FIFA or the local organizing committee as the preference of the Brazilian people," he said.

"The mascot is not chosen by the sports ministry or the local organizing committee," he said in an interview with CBN radio. "But I think we can have our say."

"I have some sympathy for the saci," said the minister referring to the one-legged black youngster, who smokes a pipe and wears a magical red cap that enables him to disappear and reappear wherever he wishes.

An indigenous deity under Portuguese colonial rule, the saci was quickly adopted by black Brazilians. It is viewed as an annoying prankster in most parts of the country, and as a potentially dangerous and malicious creature in others.

"But there is those who want the mascot to be the jaguar, which is part of Brazil's fauna and very present in literature, in the poetry of (Antonio de) Castro Alves, for example," Rebelo said.

The official mascot of football's 2010 World Cup held in South Africa was a green-haired leopard named Zakumi, with the ZA standing for South Africa and the kumi meaning 10 in assorted African languages.

The first World Cup mascot appeared at the 1966 competition in England. World Cup Willie was a lion, a symbol of Britain, wearing a Union Flag jersey with the words "WORLD CUP."