By Jonas Terrado
Fil-German Manny Ott’s last-minute change of heart added one more weapon to the Philippines’ football campaign in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) which begins Thursday against Vietnam in Jakarta.
The SEA Games was not in Ott’s plan as the German-based footballer wanted to test the waters in his adopted land and was looking for a new team.
But the prospect of helping the Philippines win its first football SEA Games medal infatuated his senses and he finally decided that he wants to be part of history.
“Here we gooooooooo! Got my ticket today =) Sea Games im coming………………… Filipino Heart won! ? Im looking forward Manny,” Ott tweeted Tuesday.
Ott said he will fly from Germany directly to Jakarta hoping to be ready for the Nationals’ first match.
Football games, because of the tight schedule, are played ahead of time. The SEA Games will have its formal opening ceremonies on Nov. 11.
The Philippines is hoping to break a medal jinx in the event considered to be the premier competition in the SEA Games where teams are willing to lose everything but not the football title.
But optimism is high among football officials that a medal finish is possible after putting together what they consider to be the most talented squad to compete in the biennial meet.
Ott, who had stints in Bundesliga Division II side 1860 Munchen and recently with FC Ingolstadt 04 II, a German Division IV club, has what the team needs to be stronger.
He has been an Azkal mainstay and saw action in last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup and the World Cup qualifiers in July.
Azkals Jason de Jong and the brothers Mark and Matthew Hartmann are the other Fil-foreigners in the team of 23-under.
Meanwhile, the match between the Philippines and Vietnam at Jakarta’s Bung Karno Stadium will be shown live on both AKTV on IBC 13 and Studio 23 at 5 p.m. Thursday. Published in Manila Bulletin