Fil-German Manny Ott to miss SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Under-23 squad’s bid for a first medal in the Southeast Asian Games football competition in Indonesia suffered a blow, after Fil-German midfielder Manny Ott ruled himself out of the event as he searches for a new club in Germany.
With seven appearances for the senior team, Ott, a vital cog in the Azkals’ run to the second round of World Cup Qualifying, could have been one of the most experienced players in the SEA Games squad, which faces Vietnam in its first match on Nov. 3 at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.
“I had to make a hard decision in which way my career as a professional player will go,” Ott said in his facebook account. “I’m searching for another club here and so I have to stay and play for my team.”
The Fil-German, whose mother hails from Caticlan, Aklan, is currently attached with FC Ingolstadt II, which plays in the fourth division in Germany.
“My heart is beating for the Philippines,” Ott said. “I’m very, very sad, but I have to think about my future. I am very sorry. I hope everyone could understand.”
Ott’s absence gives additional responsibilities to Jason de Jong to lead the side in Jakarta, where goalkeeper Roland Muller, Fil-Belgian winger Jeff Christiaens and Fil-Spanish rightback Carli De Murga will reinforce the team.
The Under-23 Azkals, who are currently training in Gotemba, Japan, are also grouped with Myanmar, Laos, Timor Leste and Brunei in the SEA Games. Only the top two teams from the group will advance to the semifinals.
Azkals coach Michael Weiss still wishes he could have more time to hone the team, which, he said, has a defensive line that is “vulnerable.”
“We could have a very strong team if we had four to six more weeks, but we have big problems in defense, in switching from offense to defense,” said Weiss, who focused on the Under-23 side after the string of friendly matches played by the senior team early this month.
“Our defense line is vulnerable. We will get big problems there if we don’t work on it. I think technically we’re quite okay, but we have to work on defensive pieces that’s also clear. I wish I could have worked with the team longer but the situation didnt allow it.”