Getting to know the Moo Pa Academy Mae Sai soccer team

Moo Pa (Wild Boar) Academy Mae Sai is the name of the soccer team in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai which is currently the focus of public attention and concern after 12 members of the team and their coach went into Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non cave on Saturday and were trapped in the flooded cave with their fate still unknown.

A team of Navy Seal frogmen has been inside the flooded cave this morning (Monday) to help in the search and rescue for the 13 footballers and coach with other rescue workers from the patrol policemen and park officials.

The team was formed by 25-year Mr Aekkapol Chanthawong, the coach, who recruited young boys in Mae Sai district who love football and who have some skills in the sport. The team trains almost every day after class at the Mae Sai soccer club. Besides the routine training, Aekkapol occasionally took them out for cycling trips or other activities outside Mae Sai district. For instances, on June 6, the team played a friendly match with the Srikham team and he used to arrange for a cycling trip to Laos with the team.

Their ill-fated venture into Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non was not the first of the team. About two years ago, the coach took them to the cave for a tour.

One member of the soccer team was lucky that he didn't join the cave trip because his mother picked him up after the training. But the other 12 footballers joined the trip and they were advised to bring with them torch lights.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS)