FACEBOOK tycoon Mark Zuckerberg yesterday became the latest global celebrity to offer moral support and encouragement to Thailand as the world toasts the success of the much-publicised operation to rescue 12 young footballers and their assistant coach from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai province.
“From everyone at Facebook – your bravery has been amazing and congratulations on the successful rescue of eight Wild Boars. Best of luck as you work to get the remaining three players and their coach to safety.”
Zuckerberg left his message in a comment column of the Thai Navy SEALs Facebook page that has provided inside information throughout the operation. Just hours later, the same Facebook page announced “mission accomplished” with all the members of the team extracted from the cave. Thai netizens thanked the social-media tycoon for his encouragement and his comment received thousands of “likes” from Facebook users across the world.
The fate of the Mu Pa Academy football team members and their 25-year-old assistant coach has fixated Thailand and the rest of the world for the past two weeks. When the missing team was found on July 2 by a pair of British cave divers, everybody celebrated but they continued to hold their breath as the boys still had to dive out of the flooded cave.
During the weekend United States President Donald Trump tweeted in support of the rescue operation at the Tham Luang cave, where American military personnel are providing assistance.
“The US is working very closely with the government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and talented people!” the president wrote on Twitter.
Given the team’s connection to the football world, the Mu Pa boys and coach, along with the rescuers, received encouragement from big names such as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“On behalf of the whole LFC family, we wish you from the bottom of our hearts all the best,” said Klopp in a video message.
“Stay strong and we are with you. We are following all the news and hoping every second that you see the daylight again … You’ll never walk alone.”
Former Real Madrid and Brazilian star Ronaldo told reporters: “It is terrible news and the world of football hopes that someone can find a way to take these kids out of there.”
Leicester City player Christian Fuchs also urged the boys to “be strong”. The English Premier League team is owned by Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
“We have very strong ties with the country of Thailand, I’m closely following the rescue efforts to secure the lives of the 12 players and their coach,” Fuchs told CNN Sport.
“I wish everybody all the best with their rescue efforts and I’m sure everything will be turning out well.”
Argentinean football star Lionel Messi also sent his support to the Mu Pa team in a video message.