On the sidelines of the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Mauritania, the spectacle wowing the attendees at the three venues is a jumpy and playful mascot named Jam’Al.
Jam’Al is the combination of two words; jam which means peace in the Pulaar, Soninke and Wolof dialects and Amal which means hope in the Hassania dialect. Jamal in full also means beauty and Jemal means camel in the Hassania dialect.
According to Aicha Lekhal, the Communications Director at Mauritania’s Ministry of Sports, these words hugely resonate with the culture and the people of Mauritania.
“Mauritanian culture is based on peace and hospitality and that is why those words really resonated with our mascot. The camel is also a very important symbol in our culture because it denotes patience and endurance,” Lekhal explains.
To pick the name and denews24nation of the Mascot, the host nation Mauritania organized a contest among the citizens with submissions sent in from across the length and breadth of the North West African country.
“We asked people to send us drawings of a mascot and we selected the best drawing and we made it the mascot. After that, a second contest was organized to choose a name for the mascot. We asked for each name sent, an explanation be also given for the name. We had all submissions in and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) sat and deliberated and picked the name and the image for the mascot,” Lekhal states.
Mauritania is hosting its first ever continental showpiece and Lekhal says they feel privileged for the continent to be assembled in the country for the AFCON Under-20 where future African stars are going to be born.