Martyrs' Day Soccer Match in Kabul
7 April 2016
Australian and Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan competed in an impromptu game of soccer to mark the 101st anniversary of Martyrs' Day on March 18.
Members of Task Group Afghanistan hit the pitch with soldiers from the Turkish Army who are responsible for base security at Kabul International Airport.
Sport and camaraderie were the winners in the fast-paced game with powerful kicks, but the Turks proved to be the better players from the result seen on the scoreboard.
Martyrs' Day commemorates the Ottoman forces defeating a naval attack by Allied forces in the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I on March 18, 1915.
The Çanakkale Battles or the Gallipoli Campaign was one of Turkey’s greatest victories during the WWI and Martyrs' Day is held in remembrance of all Turkish soldiers who fell in action.
The Battle of Gelibolu (Gallipoli) restored the Turkish Army's prestige in the world and established a milestone of the Turkish nation's struggle for independence.
Lieutenant Patrick Hoare, Commander Force Protection Platoon, said another soccer game was planned with the Turkish soldiers for Anzac Day.
"During my deployment I have made great friends with the Turks on base and we thought it would be a good idea to commemorate the Gallipoli Campaign, especially as 101 years ago we were at war with each other," he said.
"It was good to see the other soldiers come to support the game and the players put a lot of effort into the match.
"The Turks were skilled players, obviously they had better skills than us, but the game was about building relationships between our countries."
The final score for the match was 5-2 after a close call of 2-2 at half time.
The Australian Defence Force's (ADF) commitment to Afghanistan is known as Operation Highroad and is fulfilled by personnel serving with Task Group Afghanistan.
Close to 270 ADF members from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and Defence civilians are deployed to support the NATO-led train, advise and assist mission, Resolute Support.