Sport a vehicle for forging stronger ties – Interview with Bruce Djite

This week we talked to Bruce Djite, a professional footballer whose career highlights thus far have included playing for the Young Socceroos (U’20), the Australian Olympic team (U’23) and the Socceroos.

From his experiences playing professionally overseas and in Indonesia, Bruce is a strong advocate for the use of sports in diplomacy and believes sport, especially football, can play a larger role in strengthening relations between Australia and the ASEAN region. 

Tell us about your journey as an elite football player.

My journey as an elite football player has been an unbelievable experience. Football has given me unbelievable opportunities to meet and build a web of international and domestic relationships with a broad and very diverse range of people.

I started playing while on holiday in Cote d’Ivoire when I was 6, and continued playing with my local club (Lindfield Soccer Club) on my return to Sydney, Australia. By the time I was 8 I knew being a professional player is all I wanted to achieve, it really was my childhood dream. I progressed through the youth ranks and have played professionally in Australia, Turkey, China, South Korea and Indonesia as well as representing Australia from U20 level to the Socceroos in a wide range of countries all over the world. 

What can sport offer the ASEAN-Australia relationship?

Sport, especially football has much to offer the ASEAN-Australia relationship.

Generally the nations that make up ASEAN have a very strong, rich and passionate football following. The masses in the region are actively engaged in supporting their teams both in their home country and abroad.

Australia also has a very strong pedigree when you consider our levels of sporting governance, the expertise of our coaches, sports administrators and sports scientists is world class. Australia could collaborate with ASEAN countries to share ideas and learn from each other to strengthen relationships.


I personally envisage a football game between an ASEAN All Stars team and an Australian representative team which would be a fantastic event.


I personally envisage a football game between an ASEAN All Stars team and an Australian representative team which would be a fantastic event. Not only as an on-field spectacle, but also as a vehicle to bring people together in a more social and relaxed atmosphere.

Such events help to build stronger person to person links and better relationships overall that in time will foster improved collaboration on trade, defence, tourism and sustainability. Additionally, cultural understanding, empathy and solidarity with some of our closest neighbours will undoubtedly improve.

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