Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Honda takes charge for Malaysia friendly

Honda takes charge for Malaysia friendly

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia coach Keisuke Honda (left) takes a training session at Olympic Stadium on Tuesday. AFP

Honda takes charge for Malaysia friendly

A hot topic doing the rounds in international football has been the appointment, more than a week ago, of still-active player Keisuke Honda to guide the destiny of Cambodian football in his role as general manager-coach, adding excitement to the Kingdom’s friendly with the visiting Malaysians at Olympic Stadium, which kicks off today at 6.30pm.

The Japan star scored in the Russia 2018 World Cup in a 2-2 draw against Senegal to top the list for Asian scorers at the World Cup after netting for his nation to become the highest scoring Asian player in World Cup history with his fourth goal in the competition.

The midfielder will play for Melbourne Victory while he has pitched his future to developing Cambodian football.

“For his achievements and talent, he had so many options before him but to have chosen Cambodia to ensure a healthy growth of football here is really astonishing and we feel honoured to have him and our players are really fortunate to seek help from someone like him,” a spokesman for the Football Federation of Cambodia told The Post.

The best possible compliment for this change of dynamic in Cambodian football that Honda is widely expected to usher in came from none other than the Malaysian coach Tan Cheng Hoe, who said at a news conference at the Phnom Penh Hotel on Sunday morning that he could clearly see an inspired and motivated home team turn up for the fight.

“It has never been easy playing Cambodia. All these years we have met so many times. The side has got some good players and that spirit to fight and under Honda every player will be trying to catch his eye,” the Malaysian coach said.

It may be too soon to speculate the style, approach and tactics Honda could pursue with the team but according to the Malaysian coach one thing would be certain and that is the Japanese legend will extract the best from his bunch.

With Malaysia’s focusing on the ongoing AFF Suzuki Cup, Tan said the team was looking for a confidence boost after going down 2-0 to Chinese Taipei on a heavy pitch.

“Some of the players may be a little down after that loss but I am confident they will put up a strong show against Cambodia. I am planning to give every player a chance to prove his quality and worth. So there could be several changes” he indicated.

While the coach is looking to reshuffle the side, he may bring in teenager Akhyar Rashid into the starting line up and another first 11 prospect is Kogileswaran.

‘Good potential’

For his part, Honda was brief and direct in his address. His over arching message was to stay calm and not try to go deep into the style, the changes and formations since it would be too early to talk about them.

“I have discussed with the Federation as to how best to grow Cambodian football in the future and that will be our main thrust. I have seen good potential. There are players with talent, experience and promise among younger players. So we need to build the team step by step.”

Honda said he was confident his players would show the kind of fighting spirit he expects from them but it wouldn’t be easy to beat a tough side like this Malaysian team.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,