The mascots are said to be integral to the tournament experience, which is set to kick off in January.
The Friday inauguration ceremony of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 revealed a family of five animated desert jerboas, who are the official mascots of the tournament, to audiences for the first time at the Barahat Msheireb, an open square in downtown Doha.
With 42 days to go until the opening kick-off on 12 January 2024, the AFC mascots are cast by Saboog, Tmbki, Freha, Zkriti, and Traeneh, a family of jerboas based in the four corners of the Gulf State.
As described by the AFC, Saboog, the blue-colored son of the family, is returning to the international stage after first appearing during the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011.
He is followed by the pink-colored Freha, the family’s eldest daughter named after the Freha area in northern Qatar.
Third is Tmbki, the yellow-colored younger son named after the Timbic region in Qatar’s east.
The parents are Zkriti and Traeneh, the green-colored father and purple-colored mother. The pair are named after Zikrit in Qatar’s west and Tranaa to Qatar’s north.
In addition to the unveiling of the mascot’s designs, so was their song, which was shared on X after the unveiling along with a description: “Hello, it’s Saboog! Your old friend from 2011. And, this is my dad Zkriti, my mum Traeneh, my sister Freha, and my little brother Tmbki. We’re back as the Asian Cup 2023 Qatar 2023 Official Mascots.”
Qatari artist Ahmed Al Maadheed created the mascots’ designs as he was inspired to create a set of characters that resemble a traditional household in the country.
“From the very beginning, we wanted to do something that inspired families and young people to be a part of the Asian Cup,” a statement by Al Maadheed to the AFC said.
“We wanted to do [sic] dig deep into our rich ecological heritage and find an animal that could represent the best of what happens on the pitch and also in our daily lives, and that was the jerboa,” the statement by the Qatari artist added.
Qatar will host the tournament for the third time, after previously hosting it in 1988 and 2011.
Twenty-four teams from across Asia will compete across nine stadiums in Qatar, with 51 matches to be played over one month.