Keisuka Honda’s new gigs for club... and country?
Keisuke Honda is a busy man.
A living legend of Japanese soccer at 32, Honda has a new club in Australia’s Melbourne Victory.
He’s also the coach and general manager of the Cambodian national team.
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Wait, what now?
Honda retired from international football following the 2018 World Cup, leaving a legacy of 32 international goals in just under 100 caps.
That includes goals in three separate World Cups, which would be enough to brand him an international hero even were he not to carry with him silverware from stints at AC Milan and CSKA Moscow.So when he left Japan and most recent team Pachuca to sign for new gigs in Australia and Cambodia, it raised more than a few eyebrows. From the AP:
Honda said he and Cambodia’s football association have talked about “how we make Cambodian players grow up for the future,” so he is focusing on how he can raise them to “a good level.” He said he was confident because “they have huge potential.”
“We have trained a very good lot the last couple of days,” he said. “I already found a lot of good players and experienced players and young players.”
Cambodia is ranked 170th in the world by FIFA, and plays its first match under Honda on Sunday against Malaysia. The Malaysians are ranked 171, so watch for the upset, Keisuke.
Cambodia has won just twice since the start of 2017, only defeating Afghanistan and Laos, while losing by five-or-more in three of their 10 losses. All of their players save Thierry Chantha Bin play domestically, and Bin plays in Malaysia.
Plenty of work for Honda. We’ll be watching, and at the very least Honda should be able to open doors abroad for his new charges.