September 20 – Bacuya the rhino has been unveiled as the mascot for the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in 2023.
The Javenese rhinocerous made his debut at Jakarta’s iconic Selamat Datang Monument on Sunday before parading down Sudirman Street during the city’s Car-Free Day. The event was attended by FIFA’s Director of Tournaments, Jaime Yarza; the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports, Zainudin Amali; the President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI), Mochamad Iriawan; and Local Organising Committee project lead Maaike Ira Puspita.
Bacuya is blessed with “boundless energy” and a multicoloured horn that glows when he plays football.
If a mascot ever represented the enthusiasm of a developing nation for the hosting of a world event it is Bacuya.
Indonesia is fast developing its football infrastructure and is in the final bidding to host the 2023 Asian Cup as a replacement for China. For that bid it is up against South Korea and Qatar who are currently more favoured to win the hosting, though hosting in summer 2023 would run into the 24-team U20 World Cup which will be played May 20 to June 11.
Indonesia was originally scheduled to host the tournament in 2021.
“Hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup will have a huge impact on the growth of the game in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and Bacuya will help to inspire a new generation of football enthusiasts,” said Iriawan.
The emphasis is very much on youth. Indonesia is very much a young football country, hosting a youth tournament with the aim of attracting a younger demographic to the game.
“The Official Mascot for the FIFA U-20 World Cup will engage a younger audience in a tournament that will provide solid foundations for the development of future stars of the game across the globe. Bacuya will play an important role in encouraging children and families to come to the stadiums and see the world’s best young footballers compete for glory next year,” said Yarza.
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