YOUNG SG’REAN GETS FULHAM STINT, WILL NS SCUPPER HIS PROFESSIONAL HOPES?

Dear A.S.S. Editor

Singapore have found another young sporting hero when news broke of a teenager who has signed with English football club Fulham on a two year scholarship. After Olympic hero Joseph Schooling, and his swimming contemporary Quah Zheng Wen, now comes 16 year old Ben Davis.

Ben, who was born in Phuket, Thailand, on Nov 24, 2000, has made steady progress over the years. After gaining Singapore citizenship in September 2009, he played for the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) Junior Centre of Excellence team from 2010 to 2012. Ben has represented Singapore at the Under-13, U-14, and U-16 levels, and is set to play for the Singapore U-18s at the AFF U-18 Championships in September, and the AFC U-19 Championships qualifiers a month later. He will be the first Singaporean after Daniel Bennett to sign for an English football club. He will likely play in the U-18 Premier League, along with other London clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham.

While we hope this young man will eventually succeed and become the first Singaporean to play in the English Premier League, question marks still remains over his National Service stint, and whether this will impact on his development. It is understood that FAS technical director Michel Sablon has supported NS deferment for the youngster, and his father Harvey has been updating the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth on Ben’s progress.

Let’s hope the authorities here do all they can to help let our precocious talent develop without having to worry about any other issues that are beyond his control. We surely won’t have many young footballers like Ben who has managed to get a scholarship at top English football team.

Hamid Majid

A.S.S. Contributor

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