By Sanook.com, Daily Mail and BBC
THE COACH of the “Wild Boars” youth football team whose captain, Duangphet Phromthep, or Nong Dom, died in UK after winning a scholarship to study and play football there praised him as a fighter who did not give up the football path, Sanook.com said this evening (Feb. 15).
The deceased 17-year-old youth headed a team of 12 young footballers who together with their coach, Mr. Ekaphol Chantawong, or coach Aek, were trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district for 17 days in 2018.
This led to an international operation to rescue them and three movies having been about their ordeal namely the 2022 film “Thirteen Lives” directed by Ron Howard, 2019’s “The Cave” and 2021’s “The Rescue”.
The cause of Duangphet’s death is currently unclear, but reports in Thailand say he suffered a head injury. Police confirmed Duangphet was found unconscious in his Leicestershire dorm on Sunday and taken to hospital, where he died on Tuesday, the Daily Mail said.
Duangphet had enrolled at the Brooke House College Football Academy in Leicester late in 2022 after winning a “dream” scholarship to study and play football in the UK.
Coach Aek posted condolences on the passing away of Nong Dom, saying, “Dom, you will always be in the memory of all your coaches. You are the epitome of a fighter who did not give up the football path. Rest in peace Duangphet Phromthep – one of 13 Wild Boars. Ekaphol Academy offers deepest condolences to the family.”
While it is not known how the teenager died, Leicestershire Police said his death is not being treated as suspicious, BBC said.
Duangphet was driven by ambulance to Kettering General Hospital on Sunday afternoon, a spokesperson for East Midlands Ambulance Service said. An air ambulance was also sent to the scene.
“Today my dream has come true,” he wrote.
Just six months on, they are mourning the loss of their friend.
News of his death emerged after his mother informed the Wat Doi Wao temple in his hometown, which the team frequented.
“May Dom’s soul rest in peace,” said the post, which was accompanied by pictures of the football team with monks.
Soon, messages began pouring in from his team mates.
“You told me to wait and see you play for the national team, I always believe that you would do it,” wrote Prachak Sutham, one of the boys who was rescued with Duangphet in 2018.
“Sleep well, my dear friend. We will always have 13 of us together.”
Another of the boys, Titan Chanin Viboonrungruang, wrote: “Brother, you told me that we would be achieving our football dream… if the next world is real, I want us to play football together again, my brother Dom.”
Principal of Brooke House College, Ian Smith, said they were “deeply saddened and shaken” by the death.
“We unite in grief with all of Dom’s family, friends, former teammates and those involved in all parts of his life, as well as everyone affected in any way by this loss in Thailand and throughout the college’s global family,” he said.
The “Wild Boars” youth football team with their coach Mr. Ekaphol Chantawong and images of their captain Duangphet Phromthep, or Nong Dom, who died in UK. Photos: Sanook.com