SINGAPORE - A children's football team from former Singapore captain Fandi Ahmad's F-17 Academy have finally flown out of Turkey after being stranded there due to the coup attempt. They were on their way to Copenhagen, Denmark as of Sunday night (July 17).
Their eventual destination is Gothenburg, Sweden, where they are to play in a youth football tournament called the Gothia Cup.
They had originally been stranded in Antalya since Saturday (July 16) due to an attempted coup in Turkey.
The academy posted an update on its Facebook page on Sunday night just before their flight and it read: "From Copenhagen airport, with the help of Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines, we secured a private coach that will take the team directly to our hostel in Gothenburg."
The group of 21 had arrived in Istanbul from Antalya Airport on Sunday afternoon.
F-17 director Mizra Ismail told The Straits Times then that the academy had been working with Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines to arrange for the final leg of their travel to Gothenberg, where the team is scheduled to play its first game at 1pm on Monday.
"The boys are all in high spirits and feeling fresh after a good night's sleep at a hotel," said Mr Mizra. "Our main priority is their safety and getting them to Gothenberg on time for the tournament."
There are two coaches, six parents and 13 children aged eight to 14 years old in the group, which left Singapore at 10pm on Friday.
The Gothia Cup runs from Sunday till July 25.
Ms Sia Hwee Mian, a parent with the group, had initially told The Straits Times on Sunday via text messages: "We had six missing luggages yesterday but managed to find all of them this morning."
On Saturday, she had shared a video of long, snaking queues at the Antalya Airport.