The ever-changing Philippine Azkals pool for the upcoming joint 2022 FIFA World Cup/2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Suzhou, China, next month sees the inclusion of a familiar face in the national team setup.
United City has released midfielder Mike Ott to join defender Justin Baas as a late call-up by coach Scott Cooper. The two will represent the country while it targets positive results against the likes of Guam, Maldives, and China.
“This is not ideal for our own preparations for the AFC Champions League, but sometimes we are not in charge of a certain situation; and we all have to come together and make the best of it,” commented United City President Eric Gottschalk.
Ott becomes the fourth player from the reigning Philippines Football League champions called up for the qualification fixtures.
He joins the likes of Baas, Mark Hartmann, and skipper Stephan Schrock as notable absentees from United City’s own training camp in Dubai. The team is preparing for a good showing in the upcoming 2021 AFC Champions League group stage.
“We expect them to be match fit and ready to go when they join our squad on 17 June in Uzbekistan, and we shall have ample time to find our starting line-up for our first game,” added Gottschalk.
United City will face Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale, China’s Beijing Guoan, and one of South Korea’s Daegu FC or Thailand’s Chiangrai United.
Ott has competed in 21 matches so far for the Philippines. He has provided three goals against Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, alongside four assists.
He is expected to fill in the holes left by the likes of Raphael Obermair, Gerrit Holtmann, and John-Patrick Strauss, all of whom have been ruled out from this international window.