Ben Davis axed from Thailand's SEA Games football squad

·Editorial Team
NONTHABURI, THAILAND - OCTOBER 11: Ben Davis of Thailand (L) in action during the friendly match between Thailand U-23 and Army United at Nonthaburi Province Stadium on October 11, 2019 in Nonthaburi, Thailand. (Photo by Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/Getty Images)
Ben Davis in action for the Thailand Under-23 during their training camp ahead of the SEA Games (PHOTO: Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Ben Davis will not get the chance to face his former home country Singapore at the SEA Games after all.

The 18-year-old Fulham FC footballer was not on the final list of 20 players going to the Games in the Philippines, according to an announcement by the Football Association of Thailand on Wednesday (20 November).

He was called up to Thailand’s provisional Under-23 SEA Games squad in September, and had linked up with the team for a training camp last month.

Thailand, who won the football gold medal at the last SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, are scheduled to face Singapore in the opening group stage on 1 December. The SEA Games will be held in various cities in the Philippines from 30 November to 11 December.

Davis, who was born in Phuket to a Thai mother and English father, moved to Singapore at age five. He became a citizen four years later, and subsequently represented the Republic at the Under-16 and Under-19 levels.

He created a stir last year when the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) rejected his application for national service deferment in order to pursue his football career with English Premier League club Fulham.

In February this year, Davis failed to report for NS as required, and was declared an NS defaulter. Mindef said in a statement that he is “liable upon conviction to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years”.

Davis subsequently made his senior-team debut with Fulham in August, coming on as an 89th-minute substitute in their 0-1 League Cup defeat by Southampton.

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