Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season.

Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said in a June 1 social media post that this was sad news for the Kingdom’s football fans, especially those in Siem Reap, as the club had played a large part in promoting the sport in the province.

He noted that the club provided many youth players with the chance to demonstrate they had the skill to play at a higher level.

“We have decided to end operations at Soltilo Angkor. We established the club six years ago in 2017, with the idea of promoting football in rural areas outside of Phnom Penh. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a sponsor at this time, and we have no choice but to make the decision to discontinue the operation,” the post announced.

Honda thanked Por Vannith, military commander of Siem Reap province, for his support and close collaboration during the club’s time in the province.

Soltilo Angkor played in the Cambodian League A in 2018, after taking fourth place in the second league the year before.

“We carefully considered our options and final decision until the end, but financial challenges mean that we can no longer move forward. This decision was very hard for us and we will never forget the gratitude that the players, staff and fans have for us,” said the club, in a statement.

“I want to thank all of the fans who supported us on this journey. I still back Cambodian football and believe that one day Cambodia will play in the World Cup,” added Honda.