International footy brings with it the unfortunate reality of fantastic people moving on frequently. This transient environment is challenging but we also are blessed to cross paths with so many wonderful people who enrich our club in their own special ways. One of these people has been Chia Sabbatucci who arrived in Vietnam about 5 years ago from Jakarta with a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for many of the off field challenges facing an Asian footy club. In particular the Grand Final Parties of which Jakarta’s event is world renowned.
Of course Chia’s experience in joining our committee was valuable but what happened next was simply astounding. As Women’s footy emerged around the region Chia took on the challenge of getting a Swans dedicated AFL team going. (It’s worth noting the emergence of AFLW in Asia was due in no small part to the exhibition game and great work done by Maz Scanlon during her time in Vietnam – hear more about that on the Keep Honking Podcast here…)
While always closely linked to our sister Gaelic club the Saigon Gaels Chia scoured the country in early 2018 to bring in a wide range of new/experienced, young and old passionate Lady Swans. Would you believe it she then led them to the first ever Women’s Asian Champs in 2018 in Kuala Lumpur and took out our FIRST EVER Asian Champs trophy – read more about the triumph here… Chia had almost single handedly doubled the scope of our club and achieved our highest ever on field honour and created a legacy that won’t be forgotten. For that the Vietnam Swans will always be deeply thankful!
Unfortunately Chia departed Saigon in December of this year. As she left we collected some of the thoughts of the women who have had the pleasure of being coached by Chia and presented it to her, of course these are just a few of the 1,000s of incredible memories that have been created and will always be part of the Swans folklore.
The banner design as presented to Chia at a farewell dinner.
Read on for each of the specific memories collected for the banner:
Alex – #TheBestInEverything! Being A first Time Player in This Footy world, Very easy For Me to Adjust.Why? Simply Because, I have the Best Coach,The Best team.The Best Camaraderie. Chia, You are Indeed A Legend! I love You! I will surely See u on the Other Side! ❤️
Nini – Chia is the biggest supporter of everyone in the team. She gives time, energy, and enthusiasm to everyone. She is the best coach, captain, mum, and friend. See you in a few weeks, boss lady.
Lucy – Chia, you are the best coach, you push me more energy to play football. You help me to connect our team. Thank you and miss you more. Love you. 🌈
Steph – Love you Chia! Best friend, best coach, best housemate! With one phrase you can get me to do anything! #liveyourbestlife
Nona – Chia your time in this side of the world has been remarkable. You are leaving a legacy that empowers women through sports. I love you for that and I love you for just being you. My smart, intelligent, beautiful and funny bogan friend! See you in Oz. XOX
Tram – Big thanks to Chia for your dedication to our team! My very first amazing coach ❤️
Naomi – More than a coach! More than a best mate! You’re Family! Cheers to all the good times and more times to come legend!
Cindy – Chia is a superstar. She’s extremely inclusive, caring, thoughtful and is there for anyone if they need her. Xxx We all love her immensely.
Tracey – Never considered pulling on the boots to play AFL until Chia convinced me in Phnom Penh! A dream I never knew I had and I’m forever grateful to Chia, best time ever playing with the Swannies. ❤
Heather – Chia, first time I saw you, it was love at first site. I knew I had to get you on my team! #goyougoodthing
Katie – Chia you will always be the one who brought me to the game I love where I found some of the best people. You changed my world!!!
Rach – Chia, the time spent in Vietnam both on and off the field with you and your beautiful family is a fond memory I will cherish forever. Selfishly, I am glad you are moving closer! I’ve got your back! 😆