Veteran midfielder Manny Ott was one proud brother on Saturday night when his younger sibling Mike made an auspicious debut in the Philippine Azkals’ 1-3 loss to Bahrain in international friendly at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Coming in as a substitute for Kevin Ingreso in the second half, Mike Ott made his presence felt when he turned a nifty cross from Martin Steuble into a sharp low strike at the 49th minute, providing the lone highlight for an Azkals side that mainly struggled against the Reds’ speed and precision.
The goal of the younger Ott underscored his importance for the Azkals, who are gearing up for the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup tiff co-hosted by Manila next month.
“I’m very proud of him. He’s a good player and when he came in, the game changed if you compare it to the first half. We created more chances,” Manny told sports scribes, with Mike listening intently on his side.
Mike, who plays for FC Nürnberg II in Germany’ second-tier division, was thrilled to prove he really has what it takes.
“I’m very happy that the coach brought me in and I gave all my energy in the game. I think I did a good job scoring my first game. I’m very proud,” he said.
Even Azkals coach Thomas Dooley was encouraged with the way Mike Ott, along with fellow youngsters Fitch Arboleda, Paolo Bugas and Daniel Gadia, held their fort against a talented Reds crew.
“They all did well,” said Dooley, before he singled out Mike Ott’s impressive showing.
“Mike came in and he’s excellent. You can see that he’s a guy that can finish. He has great touches like his brother. He is a football player he knows when to play, knows how to receive. he’s a good player. there’s a reason why his club in Germany got him. he has something that could help us a lot.”
The Azkals get another chance to fine-tune their plays on Monday when they take on visiting North Korea at the same venue. – By Jerome Lagunzad