Abu Dhabi, Jan 5 (PTI) Three Wild Boars players, who captured the world’s attention when they were miraculously rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand last year, will watch India’s Asian Cup campaign-opening match against Thailand here Sunday.

The three players and their assistant coach will see the India vs Thailand Group A game at the Al Nahyan Stadium on the invitation of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

“Representatives from Wild Boars Football Academy will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness their Thai football idols in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. Three Wild Boars players as well as their assistant coach, will see Thailand’s opening game against India,” the AFC said in a statement.

“There will also be a meet and greet for the group with their national heroes and they will receive a behind-the-scenes stadium tour before experiencing VIP access during what promises to be a decisive contest.” AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “The courage and perseverance of the 12 teenagers and their coach under extremely challenging conditions were a source of inspiration for millions of people across the world.

“Now we have an opportunity to continue this remarkable fairy-tale. Football has the power to bring hope and joy to people of all backgrounds and nationalities and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 is the ultimate platform on which to celebrate the unity and diversity of our Continent.” He said the presence of the Wild Boars Academy players will make for an even more memorable tournament and inspire them to continue their incredible footballing journey.

“During their terrible 18-day ordeal, they demonstrated the power of unity and teamwork and, in the end, they thankfully overcame all the challenges that they faced,” the AFC chief said.

The invitation was part of a larger two-year support programme from the AFC to the Wild Boars, which will see the club receive technical support as well as training equipment and 100 Molten match balls a year.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.