- FIFA has invited 12 young players and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand to the World Cup finals in Russia
- The young football team has been trapped for 13 days in a flooded cave network
- Authorities in the country are still exploring different options to free the young footballers in Chiang Rai
- Rescue operation has since been suspended as 4 more boys were freed to bring total to 8
World football governing body, FIFA, has sent an invitation to 12 young players and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand to the World Cup finals on Sunday, July 15, in Moscow, Russia - if they are rescued in time.
In a letter to the president of the Football Association of Thailand, FIFA offered its “deepest sympathies and support” to the families of the young football team, observing that the team’s appearance at the final would “undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration."
“If, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel, Fifa would be delighted to invite them to attend the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow as our guests," the letter, signed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in part.
"I sincerely hope that they will be able to join us at the final, which will undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration," Infantino added.
Rescuers on Monday, July 9, freed four more members of the boys soccer team to bring the total of those saved to eight ahead of the second phase of a desperate rescue operation.
TUKO.co.ke understandsThai authorities are still exploring different options to free the young footballers in Chiang Rai.
The team is said to be stuck in a small chamber, about 1km underground, for almost 13 days.
On Friday, July 6, anxiety was building amid worsening weather and lowered oxygen levels in the underground complex, with reports suggesting that rescuers may be forced to extract the team in a difficult and dangerous diving operation.
Rescue teams, including Thai Navy SEALs from across the globe are battling to save the youngsters who are said to be aged between 11-16 years.
Several members of the international community have since joined in sending messages of support, with billionaire space adventurer Elon Musk offering his services to the Thai government to rescue the team.
His firm, a giant tunnel construction company confirmed it is combining efforts with the Thai government to offer support.