In 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War, the Holt government agreed it would be a good idea if Australia's national soccer (football) team took part in a tournament in Saigon, South Vietnam, to boost morale in some of the nations involved in the war.

 

Australia was one of eight teams invited, along with South Korea, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand - all countries that supported South Vietnam. The Australians, led by coach Joe Vlatsis, set off for the Vietnam National Day Football Tournament at the start of November 1967 and went on to win it undefeated.

 

Saigon in 1967 was not the city it is today. The presidential palace was shelled as the Australian team arrived, and it was later revealed that Vietcong fighters were arrested for apparently attempting to blow up the South Korean team, who stayed at the same hotel as the Australians.

 

The Australian players were told they could keep their team tracksuits as a reward for their victory! A few months after the tournament, Australian prime minister Harold Holt was dead, the Tet offensive was underway and anti-war activism was everywhere. For the players, though, the tournament would live on.

 

In 2017, a 50-year reunion was held by Sydney Cricket Ground Trust to honour the team. These men have been recognised collectively for their pioneering achievement. Football historian, Roy Hay, has written extensively on the tour in his book, Football and War: Australia and Vietnam 1967–1972, A Missing Part of the National Narrative.

Vietnam War 1967 T-shirt

SKU: FC0000092
$40.00Price
  • Specifications

    • Unisex, regular fit 
    • Crew neck 
    • Mid-weight, 180 GSM
    • 100% combed cotton
    • Neck ribbing, side seamed, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems, preshrunk to minimise shrinkage
  • Size Chart

    Size S M L XL 2XL 3XL
    W 47 52 56.5 61 64 68
    L 71 75 78.5 82 83.5 85

     

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