AFC President

AFC President Shaikh Salman sends strength to Thai football team and coach

Monday, July 9, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has expressed his relief and praised the heroic efforts of rescuers, following the successful evacuation of the first four of the 12 youth footballers and their coach who have been trapped for over two weeks in the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.

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AFC President Shaikh Salman said: “Over the past two weeks, the Asian football family have stood in solidarity with the Football Association of Thailand and the people of Thailand for the safe return of the 12 teenagers and their coach.

“We are extremely pleased to learn of the successful return of the four boys rescued.  The Asian football family joins the global community in wishing the remaining nine affected comfort, strength and we pray for their well-being and safe evacuation.

“Their resilience and perseverance under extremely uncertain conditions for over two weeks is an inspiration to us all and the valiant efforts of the brave rescuers are indeed a testament to the human spirit.”

The AFC President also expressed his hope that all the boys and their coach will accept the invitation from the FIFA President Gianni Infantino to attend the final match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia on July 15 at the Luzhniki Stadium in the country’s capital, Moscow. 

Shaikh Salman said: “Football has the power to bring hope and continues to bring joy to millions across the world. I sincerely hope that upon their successful return and if health permits, they will join the world in witnessing football’s biggest celebration. I have no doubt their presence will make for an even more joyous final, one that transcends beyond football.”