‘Kanki’ to welcome U-20 World Cup participants

‘Kanki’ to welcome U-20 World Cup participants

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
‘Kanki’ to welcome U-20 World Cup participants

Turkish football Federation chief Yıldırım Demirören (L) and Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu pose with ‘Kanki,’ the offical mascot of U-20 World Cup. AA Photo

“Kanki,” a Kangal breed dog, was unveiled yesterday as the official mascot of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Turkey.

The mascot, which takes its name from the Turkish world “kanka,” used to describe very close friends, is a “cheerful, obedient, one-year-old puppy who loves to play games and gets along very well with children and the elderly,” according to tournament organizers.

Speaking at the ceremony in Istanbul, Servet Yardımcı, deputy chief of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), said the U-20 World Cup was the second-largest organization of world football’s governing body, FIFA.

“Turkey will be the 18th host of the event, which has improved its place in every tournament in the football economy,” Yardımcı said, adding that the host cities’ local administrations are eager for the event.

“We are aware of the importance of this organization to Turkey, and it’s not a surprise that Turkey has been chosen as the host,” he said. “This is a warm-up for the country’s bid to host the 2020 European Football Championships. Turkey believes in itself and is ready to prove itself. I respect all those who will make this event the best organized so far.”

The 24-team FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be the biggest international football tournament that Turkey has hosted, is to be played in seven cities including Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Kayseri, Rize and Trabzon, between June 21 and July 13.