Rescued cave boys in stadium as Thailand prepare for AFC Cup opener

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Thailand get their AFC Asian Cup campaign underway on Sunday when they play their opening Group A match against India at the Al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Milovan Rajevac’s side have been drawn in a pool alongside India, Bahrain, and the host nation United Arab Emirates.

“I think it’s a good group. We studied all the teams and we respect all the teams. If you look at the FIFA rankings we are the lowest one amongst the other teams. But as I have said before, we will take our chances and fit in our abilities and we take one step at a time and focus on one match, one after the other. Our plan and wishes are to qualify for the next stage to the last 16. So, we will calculate carefully on every match and try to win every match.”said Rajevac

The Thai squad are boosted by the inclusion of three J-League stars, Chanathip Songkrasin, Teerasil Dongda, and Theerathon Bunmathan.

“Thailand has not participated in the Asian Cup for 12 years and tomorrow is going to be our first game in this edition. It’s good that we can come and participate in the event. The game tomorrow will be the first one for both teams and it is very important, both sides want to win. Hopefully we can be the lucky one tomorrow. We are well prepared, and the players are ready to fight for the country. We wish for a good result tomorrow.”said Terasil Dangda

The match is a chance for the War Elephants to put the AFF Suzuki Cup disappointment behind them after their semi-final defeat by unfancied Malaysia last month.

A group of boys who survived a dramatic rescue from a flooded cave in Thailand last year have been invited to the UAE as guests of honour at the Asian Cup, and will watch their national side during the month-long tournament.

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