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Posted On: 26 January 2016 09:42 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:55 pm

The story behind a nation’s colours

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The 2016 AFC U23 Championship is currently taking place in Qatar, with the final set to take place on 30 January. The top three finishers from the event will qualify for the men’s football event at the Rio Olympics.



Qatar’s maroon and white kit is inspired by the country’s flag. Maroon is a reference to the Nations pride and colour of their blood. The white symbolises the peace procured from signing anti-piracy treaties with the British in the mid-20th century.


Iran’s kit is inspired by the country’s white, green and red flag. The colours reflect the changes brought about by the Iranian Revolution. The Iran jersey also features an Asiatic cheetah, which is an endangered species in Iran.


China’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag, which is red and symbolises the Communist revolution. Red is also the traditional colour of the Chinese people. China’s badge features a dragon – a legendary creature in Chinese mythology and folklore.


Syria’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag, which is red, white and black, and also features two green stars. The flag was first adopted in 1958 to represent Syria as part of the United Arab Republic. The badge features an eagle, a symbol of Syria. The Syrian national team is known as the Qasioun Eagles. Qasioun is a mountain in Damascus.


Unlike most nations, Japan’s kit is not influenced by the country’s flag. Japan defeated Sweden 3-2 at the 1936 Olympics while wearing a blue kit. The victory led Japan to believe blue was the colour of victory, and their kit has been blue ever since.


Thailand’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag, which features red, white and blue. The colours are said to stand for nation-religion-king, which is an unofficial motto of Thailand – red for the land and people, white for religion, and blue for the monarchy. Thailand briefly changed their kit to yellow in 2007 to celebrate the 80th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s kit is inspired by the country’s green and white flag. Green is the traditional colour of Islam. The palm tree on the badge represents the country’s assets, which are defined as its people, heritage, history and resources.

North Korea

North Korea’s kit is inspired by the country’s blue, white and red flag. The blue colour signifies sovereignty, peace and friendship, while the white stripes signify purity. Red represents the Communist revolution.

South Korea

South Korea’s kit is inspired by the country’s red, white and blue flag. Traditionally the kit has been red, which led to the nickname ‘The Reds’ and also inspired the name of the supporters’ group ‘The Red Devils’. The away kit has traditionally been white and blue. South Korea’s badge features a tiger – an animal strongly associated with Korean people and Korean culture.


Iraq’s kit is inspired by the country’s white, green and red flag. The badge features a lion in reference to the ‘Lions of Mesopotamia’ nickname. The lion is also a symbol of Iraq.


Uzbekistan’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag – the colours of which carry cultural, political and regional meanings. The white stands for peace and purity, while blue represents the water and sky, and also alludes to the flag of Timur, who ruled over Uzbekistan in the 14th century. Green symbolises nature, fertility and Islam.


Yemen’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag. The flag was adopted in 1990 following the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen. The flag is essentially the Arab Liberation Flag of 1952, which was introduced after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.


Jordan’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag. Officially adopted in 1928, the Jordanian flag is based on the flag of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag, which is red, green, white and black. These four Pan-Arab colours symbolise Arabian unity.


Australia’s kit is green and gold. The Australia badge features a kangaroo and emu – two of the country’s symbols. The green and gold colours were adopted in 1984 on the advice of Prime Minister Bob Hawke. It is also believed green and gold were chosen due to them being the dominant colours of Australia’s floral emblem, the golden wattle.


Vietnam’s kit is inspired by the country’s flag, which is red and features a gold star. The red symbolises revolution and blood, while the star represents the five main classes in Vietnamese society – intellectuals, farmers, workers, businessman and military personnel.