IT’S a once in a lifetime dream come true for young football fan Wasim Tai.
Wasim, 10, of Batley, will lead the players out on to the pitch as a mascot for England’s friendly with Switzerland tomorrow in front of a crowd of over 90,000 at Wembley.
Avid soccer enthusiast Wasim, who goes to Staincliffe Junior School and plays for the Mount Pleasant Junior Football Club, was selected as one of three mascots by winning a national competition, through the England members’ club Englandfans.
Wasim joined the Englandfans Club, which arranges tickets for supporters, when he went to watch England’s first match at Wembley, against Brazil last year.
As part of the membership fans get a quarterly magazine and the mascot contest was inside.
“I saw the competition in the magazine and immediately told my dad I wanted to enter it.
“But I never thought I would win. I still can’t believe it”, said Wasim.
Wasim’s favourite England player is Wayne Rooney; not surprising as he also plays for his favourite club side, Manchester United.
“I can’t wait to see and meet all the players, especially Wayne Rooney. I think I will be a bit nervous,” said Wasim.
Wasim’s mum, Farida said: “He’s getting very excited as it's a dream come true for a child to walk out at Wembley with the national team.
“He loves football and I’m sure he will cherish every moment”.
Wasim will lead the teams out of the tunnel and face a roaring capacity crowd in a full England kit provided by the FA, which he will keep.
The friendly international (kick-off 8pm) will be Fabio Capello’s first game as England’s coach and will be shown live on BBC1.
The programme starts at 7.30pm.
Capello’s squad, named last Friday, included a few shocks, notably the absence of David Beckham, stranded on 99 caps.
But many of the game’s superstars are expected to figure in the match, including Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen.