Wild Boars youngsters get Manchester United invite after Thai cave rescue

Updated 10 July 2018
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Wild Boars youngsters get Manchester United invite after Thai cave rescue

LONDON: Premier League side Manchester United have invited the Wild Boars football team, like the Chilean miners rescued in 2010, to visit Old Trafford following their dramatic rescue on Tuesday.
The final five members of the young football team — four youngsters and their 25-year-old coach — were rescued from a flooded Thai cave after spending 18 harrowing days trapped deep inside, completing an astonishing against-the-odds rescue mission that captivated the world.
The dozen players — aged 11 to 16 — and the coach had already received an invitation from FIFA chief Gianni Infantino last week to attend the World Cup final on Sunday in Moscow — although after their traumatic experience they may not be up to the trip physically or mentally.
Manchester United, though, tweeted an invitation just after the news that all had been rescued and with the Premier League season lasting from August through to May there will be plenty of time for them to recuperate and opportunity for them to take the offer up.
“#MUFC is relieved to learn that the 12 footballers and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand are now safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season,” the club tweeted on its official account.


United — who this year commemorated the 60th anniversary of their own traumatic experience of the Munich Air disaster that decimated the celebrated ‘Busby Babes’ — extended a similar invitation to the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in 2010.
The idea for that invitation which was spread over several days came from Bobby Charlton — one of those who survived the crash and also came from a mining community — and 23 of the miners eventually came with the climax of the visit watching them play Arsenal.
United gave the miners a United shirt with their names on the back, plus the number reflecting when they were lifted out of the mine during the rescue.
Present United manager Jose Mourinho had also given the miners a guided tour at his then club Real Madrid.


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”