In Part 8 of FOX Sports Asia’s “Players to Watch” series for AFC Asian Cup 2019, we look closely at Manny Ott, Philippines’ underrated midfield dynamo.
AFC Asian Cup 2019 will be a milestone tournament for Philippines as it marks the first time the Southeast Asian side grace the continent’s biggest stage.
While the odds are firmly stacked against them, especially with Korea Republic and China PR lying in wait, the Azkals do have enough quality to give a good account of themselves.
Captain Phil Younghusband, with 52 goals in 105 caps, and playmaker Stephan Schrock, who has top-level European experience from his time with Hoffenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt, will be key players, but – in Manny Ott – Philippines also have an unsung hero.
Since making his first international appearance in 2010, Ott has gone on to establish himself as a important player even if he often flies under the radar.
Tidy in his distribution, tireless in his off-the-ball movement, and tenacious in the tackle, the 26-year-old is every bit the modern central midfielder and his move to Philippine giants Ceres-Negros has also seen him taste success at domestic and continental level, the latter coming last year when the Busmen were crowned AFC Cup ASEAN Zone champions.
With tough tests coming up for the Azkals at United Arab Emirates 2019, they will need to show plenty of determination and endeavour if they are to have any chance of reaching the Round of 16, although – in Ott – they have the perfect man to set the standard and lead by example.