Thai youngsters recall their dramatic cave rescue to Harborough teenagers
Two young footballers caught up in a heartstopping cave disaster in Thailand which gripped the world have spent three weeks at Brooke House College in Market Harborough.
Phanumat Saengdi, known as Mix, and Duangphet Phromthep, nicknamed Dom, were trapped with their team-mates on June 23, 2018 when monsoon rain flooded the cave.
The dramatic operation to rescue the 12 boys and their coach beneath Doi Nang Non mountain range took 18 days as tens of millions of people looked on and held their breath.
Mike Oliver, principal at Brooke House College, said Mix and Dom, both now 14, have been staying with them as part of a 20-strong group of top teenage footballers from Thailand.
He said: “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to have Mix and Dom stay with us.
“We all remember those horrific days when they were stranded in the cave and there was no guarantee they were going to get out alive.
“The poor lads stuck down there all had days to think about their fates – it was truly terrifying.”
Mike said Mix and Dom had been receiving expert coaching at the world-renowned college’s football academy.
“They’ve loved working on their football skills here as well as improving their English – the international football language,” he said.
“Dom plays up front and Mix is a midfielder.
“They both aspire to make the grade as professionals and we wish them well.
“The lads played in a couple of festivals and were taken on stadium tours of Anfield and Old Trafford as well as visiting Leicester City.”
Mike said the two inseparable pals hushed the room when they told the college’s under-16s about their hellish ordeal.
“It takes a lot to hold teenagers’ attention and stop them fidgeting but you could hear a pin drop.
“Mix and Dom spoke so powerfully and movingly that the hairs stood up on the back of your neck,” he said.
“They talked about fearing they’d never see their parents again, their brothers, their mates.
“Our kids listened absolutely transfixed because their story is just so incredible.
“Mix and Dom have obviously been affected by their terrible experience.
“But they were so calm, respectful, friendly and polite and loved visiting us here in Harborough.”
Mike said the Thai party flew home to the Far East on Monday (Oct 28).
“They came over on an intensive football and English language programme organised by the college on behalf of the King Power-sponsored Zico Foundation.
“It was a real honour to have Dom, Mix and the lads stay with us,” said Mike.
“Dom and Mix loved it and spoke of the kindness they received here in Harborough.
“They were especially grateful to our staff and coaches as well as Harborough Town FC, who went out of their way to make the boys feel welcome.”