All eyes have turned to Brazil for the 20th Fifa World Cup, which kicked off last week. AsianInvestor has been revealing its own fantasy fund manager football XI.

We selected our team of 11 to reflect the realities of a football team, with a goalkeeper, four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers. To see our methodology, please click here.

Our performance data was provided independently by Mercer, Morningstar and eVestment. We would like to thank them for their support.

Last week we revealed our goalkeeper, Cameron Garlick of BlackRock; our central defensive partnership of Patrick Yeo from Fullerton Fund Management and Joep Huntjens of ING Investment Management; and our wingbacks, Low Guan-Yi and Ooi Boon Peng, both of Eastspring Investments.

Now we move onto our midfield, where the strategies in general become more attacking.

We wanted to include a dynamic multi-asset strategy as a defensive midfield pivot to provide a link to more attacking strategies further up field. We opted for Frankie Tai, who runs the Invesco Asia Balanced Fund.

Perhaps there are more celebrated asset allocators working in Asia, but Tai’s performance speaks for itself over the past four years. He focuses on higher absolute yield to offer a level of cushioning for when yields rise.

As our playmaker, we have selected Linda Csellak, who runs the Manulife Asian Small-Cap Fund. We are impressed by how she has introduced diversity to this strategy while ramping up performance and delivering a stellar information ratio and market-leading reward to risk ratio.

AsianInvestor’s select XI is published in full in our June magazine issue, which is available online. Let us know what you think of our project, and perhaps send us your own team/player suggestions, by writing to editors@asianinvestor.net.

Here are the write-ups for AsianInvestor’s defensive midfield and midfield playmaker. We will reveal our left and right midfielders over the next few days.

6 DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER
Frankie Tai, Invesco Asia Balanced Fund

We wanted a dynamic strategy to provide a bridge from our defence to the more aggressive approaches upfield. Frankie Tai’s balanced Asia fund fits the bill. Many people would not regard Tai a strong asset allocator, in the mould of a Khiem Do at Barings or Richard Coghlan at Schroders. But the numbers speak for themselves. He beat peers with an annualised return of 9.0% and a Sharpe ratio of 0.8. At $770 million in size, this fund is rigorous enough to withstand a holding midfield role. It emphasises Asia ex-Japan high-dividend stocks and bonds to target yield and capital growth. Higher absolute yield offers a level of cushioning when yields rise. Tai has co-managed the fund since inception in 2008. He moves the equity quotient around relative to benchmark, with an asset breakdown of about 60% equity, 39.5% bonds and 0.5% cash. He may not be as illustrious as some peers, but in his case reputation gives way to form. A midfield tyro.

9 MIDFIELD PLAYMAKER
Linda Csellak, Manulife Asian Small Cap

We have handpicked Linda Csellak as our playmaker to operate just behind the strikers, based on the way she has marshaled this Asian small-cap equity fund since taking it over in April 2010. She looks to find low-priced growth stocks early in the cycle. Diversity is its strength, with 150 stocks in the fund from a universe of 14,000. It does not take big positions and is spread across geographies. When Csellak joined, the strategy was more focused on Hong Kong-China. Now it is diversified across Korea, Taiwan, Australia, India and beyond, underlining Csellak’s managerial skill. Based in Hong Kong, she is responsible for overseeing the company’s Asia-Pacific and Asean equity teams, working closely with 40 analysts across 10 Asian markets. The fund’s performance has left peers in the shade, with an annualised return of 19.8% across four years and an excess return of 15.8%. Csellak has delivered a stellar information ratio of 2.7 and a market-leading reward to risk. Csellak has the presence of mind to marshal our midfield and link with our strikers.