ANZAC Day footy in Vietnam

I wont write too much regarding the day, I will let the photos do the talking. A big thanks to Thuymi Do  @thuymi27 for taking the majority of quality pictures.

April 25 is a very important day in Australian and New Zealand history. It marks the anniversary of when we fought a Gallipoli in World War 1 and is observed to remember all members of the Australian and NZ Army corps.

Photo courtesy of the awesome Frances Massing

In Vietnam we are fortunate to be tied to the day through the war that happened here from 1962-1972. Many ANZAC’s were here so it has a large significance in a brief history.

One of the activities that drew me to living here was the opportunity to play in an annual ANZAC football match. The AFL have started an initiative throughout Asia where the teams are all involved in an ANZAC Day game.

Games were played all throughout Asia, with a special game playing at Hellfire Pass, Thailand, a very important battle for the ANZAC’s.

Our day started at 330am with an early bus with hundreds of veterans, footballers and tourists to go visit Long Tan Cross, half and hour outside Vung Tau. In a truly moving experience, we heard our national anthems and indulged in a moment of silence for the fallen who protected and fought for our country. You could feel the emotion of the morning as the sun rose over the hills.

After the Long Tan visit, we all headed back to Tommy’s 3 bar, the best Sport Bar in Vung Tau for a big feed.

The game was being played at the dog track, the same oval the diggers played during the Vietnam War.

The first game played was the Lagler Legends v Al Frescos All Stars. An epic battle was held with some great individual performances. The level of this game just got higher and there were many players in these teams who came very close to playing in the main game.

Another minute of silence was observed, not just for the diggers, but for a lot of us were still remembering our good mate, Nicko, who passed away just after the corresponding game last year.

Then it was time for the main game. The Singapore Wombats were the reigning Asian champions and had bought a strong team to play. The Swannies had trained hard and were up to the challenge.

It was an enthralling first half with both sides trading goal for goal. The Swannies went into half time 6 goals up full of confidence. We knew that the Wombats were not the Asian champs for no reason. We knew they would throw everything at us.

After the break, the Wombats came out firing kicking the first 3 goals of the quarter. The crowd went quiet as Singapore got their energy back. However, the Swannies were too classy and too ferocious at the ball, winning every hard ball contest. The crowd started to regain its energy as the Swannies started controlling the game.

The Vietnam Swans played classy football in the final quarter and with the breeze behind their backs, they eased to a victory coming out 41 points winners.

It was a great feeling coming away with the win against a quality team on a special day. I’m very proud to be part of the Vietnam Swans and the ANZAC Day 100 Year celebrations.




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