A Vietnamese tailor with immense enthusiasm for soccer has spent over a decade designing a jersey consistently tucked in shorts out of the desire to give footballers neatness throughout their match, helping make a FIFA requirement easier to fulfill.
This may escape many spectators’ notice but the global football governing body has a clear expectation for players expressed via the guidelines for its match officials.
“Shinguards/Appearance: compliance from every player with instructions for compulsory shinguards and tidy appearance throughout the match (shirts tucked into shorts and socks pulled up),” reads a regulation of the guidelines.
The federation might tolerate the inevitable disorder which usually appears on players’ attire just a short time from the start of the game, but to 55-year-old tailor Tran Ngoc Hung, finding ways to maintain the tidiness has been his years-long ambition.
“I have loved soccer since I was young. The first international football tournament I knew of was the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, thanks to newspapers and videos,” Hung recalled.
“One of the most impressive scenes to me was when players sing their national anthem. A tidy look is an important way to show respect for their nation and the spectators.
“But it’s regrettable that football uniforms at the time weren’t neat.”
Hung observed that in those years, football shirts were predominantly long and presumably to be conveniently tucked in but the length presented an esthetic appeal at the expense of players’ performance; while a short jersey would tend to come out of the shorts.
The young man then began nurturing a ‘shirts tucked into shorts’ wish.
At first Hung focused on the possible versions of jerseys with higher tuckability in his spare time as he was scraping by as a hired tailor in his hometown in the central Vietnamese metropolis of Da Nang.
He later became the owner of a clothes-making shop in Ho Chi Minh City and unveiled an improved jersey in 2000.
The design was rejected in his attempt to obtain official recognition from the Vietnam Football Federation, which said his idea was unfeasible.
|Two footballers are seen wearing jerseys made by Tran Ngoc Hung. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Undeterred, Hung solicited advice on modern sport clothes worn worldwide from a number of football experts, as he thought that making jerseys required real knowledge.
He also shrugged away contemptuous comments that Vietnamese people are incapable of producing what world-renowned football kit manufacturers have so far failed to make.
In 2017, the tailor’s application for copyright was approved by Vietnam’s National Office of Intellectual Property, which he said is expected to consider his design for a year before giving him a certificate for effective solutions.
“My dream is to have the improved jersey displayed internationally to find sponsors for mass production,” Hung said, adding that he had kept his design as a secret from several businesses which offered to buy it.