Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Honda says Victory stopped him retiring



Honda says Victory stopped him retiring

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Japanese football star Keisuke Honda poses for a photo on Wednesday after signing for Australia’s Melbourne Victory. AFP

Honda says Victory stopped him retiring

New Cambodia head coach and Japanese superstar Keisuke Honda revealed on Wednesday that he planned to retire after the World Cup but decided to keep playing after being inspired by Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat.

The former AC Milan striker, one of the highest profile names in Asian football, has signed for the reigning A-League champions for the 2018-19 season.

“I was thinking to quit my career after the World Cup, but lucky this club made me a great offer that changed my mind,” he said at his welcome press conference, which was packed with Japanese media.

“I changed my mind after I spoke to Kevin directly.

“He said to me he really wants to succeed as a club . . . he’s an ambitious person and I’m an ambitious person as well, so I was inspired by him. That was a big meeting for me.

“I’m excited. I’m so glad I can try a new challenge in my career.”

The talismanic 32-year-old, who retired from international football after Japan’s heartbreaking World Cup in Russia, had been a free agent since departing Mexican club Pachuca.

Honda shot to fame at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when his goals helped Japan reach the last 16. He netted 37 times in 98 appearances for his country and was the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups – 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Instantly recognisable with his spiky, bleach-blond hair, he spent four seasons at AC Milan and has also played for VVV-Venlo in Holland and CSKA Moscow.

He will juggle his stint in Melbourne with duties as general manager of Cambodia’s struggling national team, after he was unveiled in that role at the weekend.

Honda plans to speak regularly with the Cambodian players by videoconference and spend as much time there as possible around the Australian football season.

Muscat was adamant it won’t compromise his commitment to the Victory.

“The long and the short of it is that first and foremost his priorities are here with Melbourne Victory and the situation will no way compromise any of our games or training,” Muscat said.

“Keisuke is a very humble and giving person, and he’s got an opportunity to give something back and that’s why he’s taken on what he has [in Cambodia].”

In July, Honda teamed up with Hollywood movie star Will Smith to launch a venture capital fund aimed at helping “people in disadvantaged environments”

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused